LEGAL ADVICE: Injunction By Text 


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In the recent anonymised case of NPV v QEL & ZED the High Court made the unusual decision to allow an Injunction Order to be served by text message.

The case concerned a claim for misuse of private information and harassment against two Defendants alleged to be blackmailing the Claimant (NPV).  NPV was a successful married businessman who embarked on a brief relationship with the First Defendant (QEL).  During the course of their affair QEL lost her job and NPV provided her with financial support.  However, QEL’s financial demands steadily increased and matters came to a head when she threatened to disclose their relationship unless NPV paid her a substantial sum.

Around this time, an unknown third party (ZED) became involved.  ZED telephoned NPV and claimed that he was a journalist and that he had information about NPV’s affair with QEL and that he was prepared to publish an article about it.  NPV did not believe that ZED was a journalist and instead suspected that he was connected to QEL and it was part of her plan to extract money from him.

Following negotiations, it was agreed that NPV would make a payment of £75,000 to ZED at a meeting.  However, unbeknown to ZED the day before the meeting NPV had applied for and was granted an Interim Injunction by the High Court on the basis of his claims for misuse of private information and harassment.  It was NPV’s intention to serve the Injunction Order on ZED at the meeting rather than to hand any money over to him.

The terms of the Injunction Order granted by the Court required ZED to disclose his identity and address for service which is usual in cases where the threat to publish is being made by someone who is hiding behind anonymity (this is known as a “Self-Identification Order”).  

However and more unusual was that the Court permitted the Injunction Order to be served on ZED by text message on the basis that, if the meeting scheduled for the following day did not occur, this was the only other practical method available to NPV to effect service of the Injunction Order on ZED.  

This case highlights that the courts are prepared to act pragmatically by sanctioning unconventional methods of service where the circumstances of the case require it.  

If you require advice on applying for or defending an injunction application then Blacks Solicitors can assist.  Please contact Luke Patel on 0113 227 9316 or by email at “LPatel@LawBlacks.com”

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