New Government figures confirm the recent trend that privacy injunctions are becoming a thing of the past.
Ministry of Justice statistics suggest that there was just one application to the Royal Courts of Justice to prevent private or confidential information being published in the second half of 2014.
- August 14, 2017
- June 15, 2016
- June 7, 2016
This compares with an average of an application per month during the glory days of 2010-11 when Andrew Marr, John Terry, Jeremy Clarkson, Wayne Rooney and many others were hammering at the court's doors.
The trend has been downwards for two years now. There are several possible reasons for this.
Personally, I doubt if it's because celebrities have signed up to a new moral code, are now faithful to their partners and avoid prostitutes, orgies and clandestine relationships.
But social media has made them more careful. And they may feel there's little point in wasting time and money obtaining injunctions if their secrets are going to come out on Twitter anyway – Ryan Giggs will tell you how this works.
They may also realise that injunction applications can be counter-productive – they can create the media firestorm that they are trying to avoid. And there's little chance of them obtaining a super-injunction to prevent the application being reported.
It's also possible that media are more reluctant to publish celebrity scandals in the post-Leveson area. And the demise of the News of the World means there's one less redtop to publish them.
I suggest it's a combination of all these factors.
But whatever the reason, it's a trend that is good news for the media. And is probably leaving lawyers with a gap in their income.
Cleland Thom is author of Internet law for journalists