MMX -v- Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust (anonymity order)
Claim No. QB-2020-002176
In the Royal Courts of Justice
Queen’s Bench Division
8 July 2020
Master Dagnall sitting in private
Tuesday 7 July 2020
Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust
UPON the Application (“the Application”) of the Claimant/Applicant (“the Claimant) made by Notice of Application dated 22 June 2020 And without a Hearing or Notice of the Application having been served upon the Defendant/Respondent (”the Defendant”), although the Claimant has stated that the Respondent has been advised that was being made
AND UPON consideration of the Claimant’s Article 8 right to respect for private and family life and the Article 10 right to freedom of expression
AND UPON Court considering the Notice of Application and the accompanying draft order sought by it and a subsequent Skeleton Argument AND THAT:
1. The action is one which is likely to attract significant media attention and publicity.
2. The action relates to alleged sexual assault and where the Claimant is an alleged adult victim, and where, at least if the matter were the subject of criminal proceedings, the Claimant might be entitled to the protection of section 1 of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992 and/or the Sexual Offences Act 2003, and to matters which do or may attract statutory anonymity and provisions against publication of the identity or address/location of the Claimant and his family
3. Publicity revealing the identity or address/location of the Claimant could unfairly damage the interest of the Claimant and his family and give rise to serious harm to the Claimant or his family.
4. Non-disclosure of the identity of and anonymity of the Claimant and of his family and of their addresses/locations is necessary in order to protect the interests of the Claimant and to secure the proper administration of justice.
5. The Claimant’s identity and address/location ought to be withheld from the public and should not be published, and that the Court should allow these prohibitions and give consequential directions, and that such prohibitions are necessary to secure the proper administration of justice
6. It is necessary to sit in private to secure the proper administration of justice, and including because publicity would subvert the purpose of the Application and this Order.
AND pursuant to the section 11 Contempt of Court Act 1981, Civil Procedure
IT IS ORDERED AND DIRECTED THAT:-
1. The identity and the address/location of the Claimant and of his family be not disclosed or published without the permission of the court (other than as required for the purposes of the carrying on of this action).
2. There be substituted for all purposes in this application in place of references to the Claimant by name, and whether orally or in writing, reference to the sequence of characters, MMX; and the Claimant shall be described in all statements of case and other documents to be filed or served in the proceedings and in any judgment or order in the proceedings and in any report of the proceedings by the press or otherwise as “MMX”.
3. The address of the Claimant be stated in all statements of case and other documents to be filed or served in the proceedings as the address of the Claimant’s solicitors.
4. That insofar as necessary, any statement of case or other document disclosing the Claimant’s name or address already filed in the proceedings be replaced by a document describing such name or address in anonymised form as above (and in the meantime shall be kept confidential), and the Claimant’s solicitor shall have permission to file with the court such copies of such documents adjusted so as to comply therewith.
5. The original of any such statement of case or other document disclosing the name or address/location of the Claimant (and in particular any Application Notice, or any statement of case, judgment, Order or other document to which anyone might have access to pursuant to Rule 5.4 A-D or otherwise at any time) are to be retained by the Court in a sealed envelope, marked “Not to be opened without the permission of a Judge or Master or District Judge of the Queen’s Bench Division”, or, if electronically filed or scanned, shall be placed on the court file and marked “confidential: not to be opened without the permission of a Master or High Court Judge”.
6. Any person not a party to this action may not inspect or obtain a copy of any document on or from the Court file (other than this order duly anonymised as directed) and whether pursuant to Part 5.4 A-D of the Civil Procedure Rules or otherwise, without the permission of a Judge or Master of the Queen’s Bench Division. Any application for such permission must be made on notice to the Claimant and the Court will effect service. The Court file is to be retained by the Court and marked “Anonymised”.
7. The reporting restrictions apply as to the disclosing of any information that may lead to the subsequent identification of the Claimant. The publication of the name or address/location of the Claimant or of any member of the Claimant’s immediate family is prohibited.
8. The Claimant must serve a copy of this Order and of the Notice of Application and the witness statement and the Skeleton Argument in support upon the Defendant and otherwise comply with CPR Rule 23.9 within three days of service of this Order upon him.
9. The Defendant may apply under CPR Rule 23.10 and CPR3.3(5) to set aside or vary this Order within seven days of service of it upon it.
10.Any non-party affected by this Order may apply on notice to all parties to have this Order set aside or varied.
11.The Claimant has permission to apply to set aside or vary this order.
12. The Court will further consider the anonymity application at the hearing of the application for Pre-Action Disclosure
13.A copy of this Order shall be published on the judicial website of the High Court of Justice specifying that the Claimant shall be referred to as MMX.
1. I have considered the decisions in Zeromska-Smith v United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust  EWHC 552 (QB) and in Jones v Ministry of Defence  EWHC 1603 (appendix) in both of which anonymity was refused. However, those cases are distinguishable not only on their individual facts but as this is a case of alleged sexual assault (which attracts at least some of the policy considerations for anonymity underlying the statutes cited in the Recitals above), there is some evidence of psychiatric harm and risk if anonymity was to be refused, and the application has been made very promptly at a very early stage. This is also only an application for Pre-Action Disclosure (and where one basis for it may be that disclosure may assist settlement (CPR31.16(3)(d)(ii) and which is an essential private matter) and if there are to be Part 7 proceedings then a separate anonymity application would have to be made in relation to them.
2. Applications for anonymity in relation to an alleged wrong against an adult need to be scrutinised, and I have therefore scrutinised it, very carefully. However, it seems to me both that there is reason on the material before me to make an anonymity order and that to make one now, with provision that it will be reconsidered at the substantive hearing of the application for Pre-Action Disclosure, which will be heard soon, will not, even if my view then changes, be that prejudicial to open justice and will enable the main Application to proceed in the meantime.