British MP reveals Fred Goodwin superinjunction

Saturday, March 12, 2011

John Hemmings, the MP who raised the Goodwin superinjunction in Parliament.

Liberal Democrat British MP John Hemming revealed in Parliament yesterday that Fred Goodwin, former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Group, applied for and was granted a superinjunction to prevent the media revealing he was a banker. After the bank bailouts in 2008, Goodwin became a hate figure after it was revealed that he was going to receive a £700,000 a year pension while the RBS Group announced a £24.1bn loss.

John Hemming's revealing of the superinjunction in Parliament is protected by Parliamentary privilege. The revelation of the superinjunction came as a question during 'Business of the House' hearings:

In a secret hearing, Fred Goodwin has obtained a super-injunction preventing him from being identified as a banker. Will the Government hold a debate, or make a statement, on freedom of speech, and whether there is one law for the rich, such as Fred Goodwin, and another for the poor, such as Lee Gilliland who has had his mental capacity removed on the basis of a report from his GP that he is not allowed to see?

Superinjunctions have become a more frequently applied and often controversial practice in British law: they allow for parties to block publication of some controversial matter and also block publication of the fact that such an injunction has been granted. They came to light dramatically when a superinjunction was granted preventing The Guardian newspaper from revealing that statements regarding an allegation against the commodities trading company Trafigura had been made in Parliament. The superinjunction was broken when a variety of bloggers and Twitter users started pointing to foreign news outlets that had published the allegations and the order against The Guardian. Superinjunctions have also been used by the Premiership football player John Terry following allegations of an affair.