HomeInsightsSolicitor General publishes media advisory notice on embargoed judgments

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In the media advisory notice the Solicitor General, Michael Ellis QC MP, draws attention to the legal requirement not to publish, disseminate or retain material that has been obtained from embargoed court judgments. Mr Ellis reminds the media that judgments subject to embargo are draft judgments handed down to parties in court proceedings in advance of those judgments being made public. The release of draft judgments to the parties plays an important role in ensuring that any inaccuracies or inappropriate material can be rectified before the judgment is made public. Embargoed judgments play an important role in the administration of justice.

Mr Ellis draws attention to Practice Direction 40E of the Civil Procedure Rules and the case of Baignet v Random House Group [2006] EWHC 1131 (Ch) which confirms that publication of an embargoed judgment, or the substance contained therein, may be viewed as a contempt of court. Further, Mr Ellis emphasises that retention, use and/or further dissemination of an embargoed judgment, or its contents, even if no premature publication occurs, is capable of constituting contempt of court.

The Attorney General’s Office will be monitoring purported breaches of embargoed judgments.

Mr Ellis says that editors, publishers and social media users should take legal advice to ensure they are in a position to fully comply with the obligations they are subject to under the Civil Procedure Rules PD 40E. To read the media advisory notice in full, click here.