Years ago, when I was still a sitting High Court Judge, I occasionally had cause to issue a gag order or an injunction. A lawyer would come before the court and plead a case of claudebat placet or some such Latin legal phrase and I would have to consider the implications of what such an order would mean. Balancing freedom of speech (the public’s right to know things) and the need to protect some people’s privacy was never an easy issue. It’s probably the reason I decided to give up judging and become a dj. Of course there was also the gavel-for-hire incident but that is covered by several injunctions and gag orders.
I realize you are not all lawyers or judges and don’t understand disputatio iuris purgamentum, so to explain better what these terms mean to the average person, I have included the definitions of these things complete with some made up charts and graphs so that I sound convincing.
A gag order is an order by a court or government restricting information or comment from being made public. This can often be used when a person’s life may be in jeopardy or when the person(s) involved are minors, or simply when the judge thinks it best that the case is not tried by the media.
An injunction is an equitable remedy in the form of a court order that requires a party to do, or to refrain from doing, certain acts. A party that fails to comply with an injunction faces criminal or civil penalties and may have to pay damages or accept sanctions. This could be an agreement, between plaintiff and defendant saying “ok, we will pay you off, but you have to agree to keep quiet about it and we admit no fault” or it could be something as brain numbingly dull as a 35-page ruling I once wrote blocking a software company from using the keyword CocaColaMicrosoft to direct search-engine users to its products.
Both of these legal motions have been used since the mid 20th century with fairly broad discretion by the courts but the power has been limited by statute in many areas of the law.
Enter the Super-injunction. Though relatively new, there is talk there may have already been as many as 100 issued, although no-one knows for sure, because NO-ONE can talk about them. Basically, it is a form of gagging order (for ultra rich people and companies) in which the press is prohibited from reporting even the existence of the injunction, or any details of it. But with the internet today, everyone fancies themselves a Wiki-Leaker, and so trying to stop people talking about things isn’t so easy. That is until governments begin censoring the internet as well. Keep in mind that for the moment, these are only issued in England and Wales, but it won’t be long before there will be super-injunctions coming to a court near you.
But do super-injunctions do any good? Its doubtful. If the public wants to know, then they will find out. There have been a number of ‘outings’ on Facebook and Twtter, including the Premiership footballer who allegedly had an affair with current glamour skankette and former Big Brother star (I use that term loosely) Imogen Thomas, and another married Premier League footballer who supposedly had a fling with 18-year-old lingerie model Kimberley West.
Believe or not, there is even a super-injunction by a cat charity (I am risking everything telling you this) that covers an un-neutered male cat that is suspected of a string of affairs with numerous female cats leading to many love-kittens he now has nothing to do with. (See here, I didn’t believe it either.)
However, there is an answer for those of you that simply can not stop yourself from doing naughty things but don’t want anyone to know. As a former judge and lawyer I can come up with new legal stuff anytime I like. So I have invented the “Super~Duper Injunction”. It is will be ridiculously expensive and available to only the super rich (sorry about that regular people) because it involves paying off anyone and everyone that knows even the slightest tidbit of information relating to the said act. It is, in effect, censorship through pay-off.
Serious esquires only please. Do not contact me directly. It is important that we have no contact so I myself can not know anything about whatever it is that you did. Send me money and I’ll get started on your case.
Help keep us writing. We have lawyers to pay.
This guy missed his payment for his Super~Duper Injuction™ so I had to tell everyone.
And this breaking news :: Premier League Star Sleeps With Own Wife!
Watch the comedy continue as this UK Football ‘star’ prepares to sue Twitter and then the world if they don’t all be quiet about his affairs. (Should have gotten a Super~Duper©)
UPDATE -DATELINE 24 MAY 2011 – We can now name him, the Imogen Thomas footballer, as he didn’t get his Super-Duper :: Ryan Giggs – Ryan Giggs – Ryan Giggs – Ryan Giggs – ummmm…. Who the hell is Ryan Giggs?