Un Rendez-vous

2009/10/13

Mr Carter-Ruck, meet Barbra Streisand

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , , , , , — simonlecoeur @ 13:28

Good job keeping that a secret, boys.

The existence of a previously secret injunction against the media by oil traders Trafigura can now be revealed.

Within the past hour Trafigura’s legal firm, Carter-Ruck, has withdrawn its opposition to the Guardian reporting proceedings in parliament that revealed its existence.

Labour MP Paul Farrelly put down a question yesterday to the justice secretary, Jack Straw. It asked about the injunction obtained by “Trafigura and Carter-Ruck solicitors on 11 September 2009 on the publication of the Minton Report on the alleged dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, commissioned by Trafigura”.

The Guardian was due to appear at the High Court at 2pm to challenge Carter-Ruck’s behaviour, but the firm has dropped its claim that to report parliament would be in contempt of court.

Here is the full text of Farrelly’s question:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of legislation to protect (a) whistleblowers and (b) press freedom following the injunctions obtained in the High Court by (i) Barclays and Freshfields solicitors on 19 March 2009 on the publication of internal Barclays reports documenting alleged tax avoidance schemes and (ii) Trafigura and Carter-Ruck solicitors on 11 September 2009 on the publication of the Minton report on the alleged dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, commissioned by Trafigura.”

At Westminster earlier today urgent questions were tabled by the Liberal Democrats in an attempt to get an emergency debate about the injunction.

Bloggers were active this morning in speculating about what lay behind the ban on the Guardian reporting parliamentary questions. Proposals being circulated online included plans for a protest outside the offices of Carter-Ruck.

The ban on reporting parliamentary proceedings on legal grounds appeared to call into question privileges guaranteeing free speech established under the 1688 Bill of Rights.

Today’s published Commons order papers contained Farrelly’s question to be answered by a minister later this week. The Guardian was initially prevented from identifying the MP who had asked the question, what the question was, which minister might answer it, or where the question was to be found.

Gag on Guardian reporting MP’s Trafigura question lifted

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