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Volume 498: debated on Tuesday 27 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what guidance the judiciary issues on the circumstances in which injunctive orders may be granted in such a way as to conceal the identity of the claimant; and if he will make a statement; (295030)

(2) what (a) guidance issued to the judiciary and (b) rules of procedure in operation to the courts govern the issuance of injunctive orders; and what provision is made in each case in respect of the qualified privilege to report parliamentary proceedings.

The judiciary is independent of the Government and so the Government do not issue guidance to it.

I understand that the judiciary has not issued guidance on the circumstances when an injunction may be granted in terms that conceal the identity of the claimant. The procedure to be followed to obtain an injunction is specified in the relevant rules of court. None of these rules refer to parliamentary privilege. Whether or not an injunction should be issued and, if so, the terms in which it will be issued are governed by the general law of England and Wales. This includes the qualified privilege to report parliamentary proceedings and the absolute privilege enjoyed by Members of Parliament in respect of parliamentary proceedings. The Bill of Rights provides that the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament may not be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament.