In its purest form, a ‘super-injunction’ refers to a legal gagging order which not only prevents the media from reporting the details of a story, but also forbids mention of the existence of the injunction itself.
Super-injunctions were brought to light when an MP asked a parliamentary question regarding an alleged dumping of toxic waste and, as parliamentary privilege allows MPs to speak freely without fear of being prosecuted for contempt of court, the media picked up on this case. Whilst newspapers refrained from printing the question, Twitter users picked up on the story bring the information into the public domain.
Many legal experts have said the widespread online speculation concerning the content of super injunctions has rendered them pointless, and warn that those publishing details online could face legal action. As the media coverage hits fever-pitch surrounding recently reported cases, the Government has launched a review to look again at the law surrounding privacy and injunctions.