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Friday, 21 May 2004


Earlier this week in Tillery Valley Foods v Channel Four Television [2004] EWHC 1075 (Ch) Mr Justice Mann refused to grant an interim injunction to stop the broadcasting of a television programme which, Tillery alleged, contained confidential information that should not be publicly aired. Tillery, a subsidiary of French company Sodexho that supplied food to National Health Service hospitals, had been suspected of failing to comply with health and hygiene standards. Channel Four proposed to broadcast a programme, based on investigative journalism, which contained secretly filmed footage taken by a journalist who worked undercover as an employee of Tillery.

Refusing to grant an injunction, the Court took the view that there was no confidential information to protect. Taking the view that this was a defamation action in disguise, the court considered that the filmed activities did not include anything that could be characterised as confidential, for example trade secrets. There was also a human rights issue: under the Human Rights Act 1998, s.12(3) no injunction would be granted to prevent publication where there was little likelihood of Tillery succeeding at the full trial.

The IPKat notices that there is a delicate balance of competing public interests on these facts. There is an obvious public interest in protecting hospital patients against being poisoned by bad food; but there is a countervailing public interest in patients not being discouraged from eating food without which their recovery may be hampered.

Hospital dinners here and here
Sinister ingredients here

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The IPKat assumes of course that patients need revelations like this to put them off NHS food.

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