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Re Fi Call Limited

[2013] EWHC 223 (Ch)

Court: High Court
Date of Judgment: 13.02.13
Ongoing: Yes
Daniel Lightman QC, Paul Adams

Four respondents to an unfair prejudice petition, one of whom was also the petitioner in a cross-petition (together, "the Applicants"), applied for Orders (i) that hearings in the two petitions be conducted in private, and (ii) that public access to documents on the Court file be prohibited.  These applications were opposed by the other parties to the two petitions ("the Respondents") and by the Guardian and the Financial Times, intervening.  In addition, the Guardian and the Financial Times made applications to obtain copies of various documents on the Court file.  These applications were opposed by the Applicants.  The Applicants sought to rely upon the right to privacy under Article 8 of the ECHR and, in particular, upon an argument that if the allegations made against them in the proceedings were made in public they would suffer damage to their reputations.

Morgan J dismissed the applications made by the Applicants and granted the Orders sought by the Guardian and the Financial Times. He was prepared to proceed on the basis that Article 8 was engaged but, having pointed out that the Applicants' Article 8 rights had to be balanced against the competing rights protected by Articles 6 and 10 of the ECHR, he went on to hold that the Orders sought by the Applicants were not necessary in the interests of justice and therefore should not be granted. Morgan J then held that the Guardian and the Financial Times, which were seeking access to documents on the Court file for a "proper journalistic reason" should be permitted such access. Daniel Lightman and Paul Adams appeared for the Respondents (led by Robert Howe QC).


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