Anonymisation—protecting the identity of a party or a witness
Anonymisation—protecting the identity of a party or a witness

The following Dispute Resolution guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Anonymisation—protecting the identity of a party or a witness
  • Anonymisation v the principle of open justice
  • Making an application for anonymity
  • Will an anonymity order be granted?
  • Anonymisation and appeals
  • Form of anonymisation orders
  • Examples of the courts’ approach to applications for anonymity

This Practice Note looks at the protection of the identity or anonymisation of a party or a witness in civil litigation proceedings under CPR 39.2(4). It considers when the court may derogate from the general principle of open justice in the context of applications for anonymisation; the courts’ approach to anonymisation applications and the form of anonymisation orders. It also provides examples of the courts’ approach to applications for anonymity either in allowing or refusing to grant anonymity orders.

When considering the issue of protecting party or witness anonymity, you may also wish to consider related issues raised in the following Practice Notes:

  1. Applications for interim injunctions for breaches of privacy

  2. Public access to court documents and information in civil proceedings

  3. Public and private hearings

For guidance on anonymising parties in the claim form, see Practice Note: Claim form—the contents.

Anonymisation v the principle of open justice

The principle of open justice usually requires that hearings should be conducted in public, should be fully reportable, and that parties to civil proceedings should be named (JIH v News Group Newspapers at para [21]).

The court can order that a party remains anonymous in appropriate cases but there is no general exception for the anonymisation of parties in privacy cases (JIH v News Group Newspapers, see also Curless v Shell International Ltd) and no special