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Mills v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2001] EMLR 957


Interim injunction discharged regarding publication of photographs of celebrity home

Facts

The claimant was Heather Mills who was publicly associated with Sir Paul McCartney. She had contracted to buy a new house and was anxious to ensure that the address of the house did not become public for security reasons. She sought an undertaking from The Sun newspaper that it would not publish photographs or otherwise identify her property. The editor refused and reserved the right to publish the story if it was published elsewhere. The claimant obtained an interim injunction.

Issue

The claimant subsequently applied for the interim injunction to be continued. She submitted that publication of her intended residence would be a breach of confidence and violate her right to private life and home under Article 8 European Convention on Human Rights. She also submitted that the threshold for the interim injunction is that the claimant has a real possibility of success at trial and the grant of interim relief was justified because, inter alia, there was no public interest in the publication of the information. The Court was required to consider whether the address of a celebrity could be protected as confidential information.

Held

The Court held that the mere publication of an address was not confidential or an unwarranted invasion of privacy. The risk to the claimant was slight as it was already well known that she lived in the town and pictures of her previous home had already been published. Accordingly, because evidence of potential harm to the claimant was insufficient, her right to private life and home did not outweigh the right to freedom of expression of the defendant and the injunction was accordingly discharged.

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