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Sunday Times v. United Kingdom (No 2) [1991] IIHRL 70 (26 November 1991)

Facts: Distillers had marketed a drug which had been taken by a number of pregnant women who later gave birth to deformed children. A weekly newspaper, The Sunday Times, began a series of articles to help parents obtain a more generous settlement of their actions against the distillers. The Attorney-General obtained an injunction restraining publication of the article.

Complaint: The publisher claimed that the injunction infringed his right to freedom of expression guaranteed by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Holding: The Court held that there had been a breach of Article 10.

Reasoning: The Court determined that there was, in the language of Article 10(1), 'an interference by public authority' in The Sunday Times' right of free expression. It then turned to the three elements of Article 10(2) and examined whether the interference (1) was prescribed by law; (2) had a legitimate aim; and (3) was 'necessary in a democratic society' to achieve that aim. The court found the injunction 'did not correspond to a social need sufficiently pressing to outweigh the public interest' in publication of the article at issue. The government's means were not proportionate to its aim, and therefore were not necessary in a democratic society.






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