Trafigura: Parliament hits back

Protestors gag themselves outside the offices of Carter Ruck, Trafigura's lawyers, to dispute the use of super-injunctions
Protestors gag themselves outside the offices of Carter Ruck, Trafigura's lawyers, to dispute the use of super-injunctions

By Ian Dunt

MPs have hit back at Trafigura's attempt to impose a 'super-injunction' on parliamentary proceedings with a demand for firm regulations to make sure it never happens again.

This morning the culture media and sport committee published the first official response to the move.

Last October the oil company's lawyers sought to impose a super injunction on a parliamentary question referring to its dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast.


The attempt to gag a parliamentary question caused outrage in Westminster and ensured far more media attention was given to the incident than could have expected otherwise.

A campaign by Twitter users saw the story - which originally featured in the Guardian - finally revealed.

"We are deeply concerned at the confusion that has arisen over the right of the press to report what is said in parliament," committee chairman John Whittingdale said.

"The free and fair reporting of proceedings in parliament is a cornerstone of our democracy and the government should quickly introduce a clear and comprehensive modern statute to put this freedom beyond doubt."

The case may go even further, with MPs on the committee recommending the lord chancellor and the lord chief justice "act on concerns regarding super-injunctions more generally".

The fight against super-injunctions, which prevent publishers even mentioning that an injunction has been imposed, took on a new momentum recently when former England football captain John Terry tried to use one to prevent disclosure of his relationship with a team-mate's former partner.

The demands on super-injunctions form just part of a wide-ranging report which demands far-reaching changes in both libel law and press standards.

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