The recent judgment of Mr Justice Ritchie in JRV & Anor v BRG [2023] EWHC 2238 (KB) granting an interim injunction to restrain details of an extra-marital affair from being published is another helpful decision on the issue of public interest and the public domain.

This decision is in line with the comments made in 2016 by Lord Mance JSC in the case of PJS v News Group Newspapers [2016] UKSC 26 that “the starting point is that (i) there is not, without more, any public interest in the legal sense in the disclosure or publication of purely private sexual encounters, even though they involve adultery or more than one person at the same time, (ii) any such disclosure or publication will on the face of it constitute the tort of invasion of privacy, (iii) repetition of such a disclosure or publication on further occasions is capable of constituting a further tort of invasion of privacy, even in relation to persons to whom disclosure or publication was previously made – especially if it occurs in a different medium.”

Granting an interim injunction the Judge took into account the fact that certain information had already been published by the defendant on her blog but noted “it is not a national newspaper or online media source and the spread of information may, so far, be very limited. The risk of the republication in the proposed news article by the journalist is a quite different and probably a far serious issue”.

Louise Prince, Managing Associate in the Firm’s Reputation Protection and Privacy team said: “Whilst this case simply applies established principles it is a useful reminder of the protection available for stories about private sexual relationships where there is no legitimate public interest even if the information is already available to a select audience.”

The judgment can be found here: JRV & Anor v BRG (Re Injunction) [2023] EWHC 2238 (KB) (08 September 2023) AND (