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What is a Gagging Order?

You may have seen it reported in the media that a celebrity has been awarded a gagging order, but what does it actually mean?

Media Libel And Privacy

An injunction, often known as a gagging order, is issued by the court to restrict the publication or dissemination of information about a subject. Often the subject is a high profile member of public like a celebrity or high-powered business person, and the person will be anonymised.

Sometimes a gagging order is used privately by employers or business partners to stop trade secrets being leaked. They can also be used to protect ongoing police or military operations, or to protect the privacy of victims or children.

In the UK, we more often hear about gagging orders when celebrities have got themselves into a matrimonial pickle, for example cheating on a spouse with another high profile person.

You may have heard the term “super-injunction”. This was used all over the media in 2011 when a number of high profile public figures censored the British media from revealing information about their private lives. A super-injunction is essentially a gagging order which also restrains a person from publicising or informing others of the existence of the order and the proceedings.

Why Would I Need a Gagging Order?

You may be able to stop the information getting out if you know it’s about to be released, by applying for a gagging order. Often people who are about to release information will let you know their intentions before they act.

If a gagging order is granted by the courts and it is breached, then the offending party may be found guilty of contempt of court and may be sent to prison, fined or have their assets seized.

If you or your business is considering applying for a gagging order you will need expert legal advice to ensure that the application is done correctly. Our expert Media, Libel and Privacy lawyers at Slater and Gordon are on hand to help. Call us on freephone 0800 916 9081 or contact us online and we will call you.

 

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