What is an online harassment injunction and under what circumstances would it be granted by the courts
An online harassment injunction is a civil court order that prohibits a person from doing a specific act (a prohibitory injunction) and/or requires them to do something (a mandatory injunction). The first step will usually be to obtain an interim injunction. This is a temporary injunction, which is usually granted pending a further hearing or until a full trial.
Injunctions are most often granted to prevent the publication of private, confidential, defamatory and/or inaccurate information and the removal of online content. There are stringent principles in place to succeed with entitlement for an injunction, so they are not granted so easily.
If an online harassment injunction is disobeyed this can amount to contempt of court, which can result in the online abuser to being imprisoned, fined or having their assets seized, so it is given to give you protection.
We can apply for an urgent injunction against any person who has harassed you online or cyberstalked you by deliberately causing you alarm and distress on two or more occasions without giving notice to the harasser, if you fear that the abuser will cause further harm to you if they know that you are taking the case further. We are experienced in persuading the court that there are good reasons to make the order without your abuser being there.
When the harassment occurs on social media we will obtain an injunction, anonymise our client and allow them to continue with uninterrupted use of her social media account. This can be particularly beneficial if you are a celebrity or if you depend on the social media account for work.
Cohen Davis was the law firm that served an injunction via Instagram, which was the first time it has ever been done in history in England and Wales and in the wider common law world. This demonstrates the technical challenges that online harassment can present and of which, Cohen Davis have the knowledge and expertise required to not only present it to the courts but the will to succeed in serving anonymous online users, where others may have not pursued, in order to assist their clients with online harassment.
We regularly obtain privacy injunctions in cases and in circumstances where a privacy injunction has never been previosly granted We have acted in a number of landmark cases as solicitors for the claimant where our clients obtained privacy injunctions which aimed to protect them and members of their family from unwanted publicity, whilst assisting them with their harassment case. Many of these privacy injunctions relate to publications on the internet and often they are granted together with an anonymity order to protect the identity of our client. We always seek long term solutions rather than quick remedies.
Injunctions are not easily awarded by the courts and they need to know that there is a good, arguable claim and that an injunction is necessary. The application wording and evidence supplied is crucial to the decision and that is why it is important to instruct a well versed solicitor to do this, to help facilitate a positive outcome. The injunction claim has to be filed within a 6 year period of the harassment also, which means that if it is online, with webpages constantly refreshing, then the harassment is always fresh.
With online publication matters, so many of our clients require urgent injunction applications, and again, it is of the utmost importance that the application is worded correctly, with sufficient evidence and with expedience. This is something that Cohen Davis do successfully on a regular basis.
In another landmark case, Yair Cohen, the Managing Director and Founder of Cohen Davis, obtained the first UK Google injunction in 2011. The order required Google to reveal personal details of individuals who were defaming a UK business on the internet.