Public Interest Immunity in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Air Canada v Secretary of State for Trade
    • House of Lords
    • 10 Marzo 1983

    It may well be that, where there is no claim of confidentiality or public interest immunity or any objection on the ground of privilege, the courts follow a relaxed practice, allowing production on the basis of relevance. This is sensible, bearing in mind the extended meaning given to relevance in the Peruvian Guano case (1882) 11 Q.B.D. 55. But very different considerations arise if a reasoned objection to production is put forward.

  • Taylor v Director of the Serious Fraud Office
    • House of Lords
    • 29 Octubre 1998

    The policy of the immunity is to enable people to speak freely without fear of being sued, whether successfully or not. If this object is to be achieved, the person in question must know at the time he speaks whether or not the immunity will attach. If it depends upon the contingencies of whether he will be called as a witness, the value of the immunity is destroyed.

  • Taylor v Anderton (Police Complaints Authority Intervening)
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 13 Enero 1995

    The purpose of the rule is to ensure that one party does not enjoy an unfair advantage or suffer an unfair disadvantage in the litigation as a result of a document not being produced for inspection. It is, I think, of no importance that a party is curious about the contents of a document or would like to know the contents of it if he suffers no litigious disadvantage by not seeing it and would gain no litigious advantage by seeing it.

    In very many cases where an investigating officer is appointed, there must be a real prospect of civil, criminal or disciplinary proceedings. That does not, of course, shut out the plaintiff if he is able to satisfy the judge, applying the familiar tests, that, on the facts of this case, the public interest in disclosure of the contents of these reports or any part of any of them, outweighs the public interest in preserving the confidentiality of these reports.

  • Rondel v Worsley
    • House of Lords
    • 22 Noviembre 1967

    Like so many questions which raise the public interest, a decision one way will cause hardships to individuals while a decision the other way will involve disadvantage to the public interest. So the issue appears to me to be whether the abolition of the rule would probably be attended by such disadvantage to the public interest as to make its retention clearly justifiable.

    But it would, in my view, be undesirable in the interests of the fair and efficient administration of justice to tolerate a system under which, as a sort of bye-product after the trial of an action and after any appeal or appeals, there were litigation upon litigation with the possibility of a recurring chain-like course of litigation. It would be a retrograde development if an advocate were under pressure unwarrantably to subordinate his duty to the Court to his duty to the client.

  • Saif Ali v Sydney Mitchell & Company
    • House of Lords
    • 02 Noviembre 1978

    No matter what profession it may be, the common law does not impose on those who practise it any liability for damage resulting from what in the result turn out to have been errors of judgment, unless the error was such as no reasonably well-informed and competent member of that profession could have made. So too the common law makes allowance for the difficulties in the circumstances in which professional judgments have to be made and acted upon.

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  • Coroners and Justice Act 2009
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 2009
    ... ... , and(d) it appears to the coroner that no public interest would be served by a hearing ... (whether on grounds of public interest immunity or on other grounds) , but(b) the person ... ...
  • Inquiries Act 2005
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 2005
    ... ... have caused, or are capable of causing, public concern, or(b) there is public concern that ... them if he considers that the public interest so requires ... (4) Before setting out or ... withheld on grounds of public interest immunity apply in relation to an inquiry as they apply in ... ...
  • State Immunity Act 1978
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 1978
    ... ... for the purpose only of(a) claiming immunity; or(b) asserting an interest in property in circumstances such that the State would have been entitled ... references to(a) the sovereign or other head of that State in his public capacity;(b) the government of that State; and(c) any department of that ... ...
  • Finance Act 2022
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 2022
    ... ... law relating to the national debt and the public revenue, and to make further provision in ... group as it, has or have a substantial interest in a relevant joint venture company ... (2) See ... (as relevant) on the ground of sovereign immunity;(c) a UK REIT;(d) a person who is resident in a ... ...
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Law Firm Commentaries
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