Anonymity

July 26th, 2021

Claimants wish to bring a claim against a Defendant for misuse of private information, breach of confidence and breach of the Data Protection Act. Should the Claimants be granted anonymity? Should they be permitted to withhold their names and addresses when issuing their Claim Form? This was the principle question in Various Claimants v IPSA (2021) EWHC 2020 (QB). Nicklin J at para 33 refers to the “fundamental rule” of the common law that proceedings must generally be held in public. At para 34 he states that Orders that a party to a civil claim be anonymised in the proceedings and reporting restrictions prohibiting identification are “derogations” from the “principle of open justice”. At para 36 he states that the authorities make clear that derogations from open justice can be justified as ”necessary” on two principal grounds: (1) maintenance of the administration of justice; and (2) harm to other “legitimate interests”. The application for anonymity was refused: para 46.

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