Previously, personal injury and medical negligence claimants were automatically named unless they formally applied for anonymity and submitted it to the Press Association news agency. Now the Court of Appeal has reversed the procedure, meaning claimants aren’t named unless it is completely vital.
The landmark decision protects children and vulnerable adults against potential harassment from both the press and the public. Default anonymity will now be routine practice, except in rare circumstances where the court isn’t satisfied or if anonymity is inappropriate for the individual case.
The Court of Appeal commented, “There was a force in the argument that in the pursuit of open justice the court should be more willing to recognise a need to protect the interests of claimants who are children and protected parties, including their right and that of their families to respect for their privacy.”
Mark Bowman, medical negligence and personal injury partner at European firm Fieldfisher, stated, “It is fantastic to know that as a result of our appeal that not only my client but claimants all over the country will now be able to pursue medical negligence or personal injury claims without the fear or worry that at the end of their claim, their name and address will be plastered all over the internet for all and sundry to see,’ Bowman added.”
“It is only right that the public should know that a defendant has had to pay out substantial compensation to an injured claimant, but there is no public interest in knowing who the claimant is or where he or she lives.”