Carter-Ruck act for Trafigura, a company specialising in "the sourcing and trading of crude oil, petroleum products, renewable energies, metals, metal ores and concentrates for industrial consumers."
Greenpeace has been campaigning to bring to light all the issues surrounding Trafigura's out of court settlement following an alleged dumping of toxic waste off the Ivory Coast. Last Month a United Nations report (the Minton Report) suggested a strong link between at least 15 deaths and the dumping of toxic waste in Ivory Coast. A link that is strongly denied by Trafigura.
It said in a statement after the deal was reached:
“Today’s settlement completely vindicates the position held by Trafigura since the beginning of this litigation. Throughout that time, the company has been the target of an enormous volume of misinformed and defamatory attacks in the media, by Greenpeace and, most recently, the UN Special Rapporteur, who unfortunately carried out no proper analysis of the scientific evidence and rejected Trafigura’s repeated offers to share that evidence with him.”
Now Carter-Ruck have taken the extraordinary step of taking out an injunction against the Guardian from reporting on Parliamentary proceedings. The Guardian cannot even say what the matter relates to, only that Carter-Ruck are the instructing solicitors. A totally bizarre gagging order when anyone can go onto the www.parliament.uk site and find the following question tabled by a Labour MP:
Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme): To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of legislation to protect (a) whistleblowers and (b) press freedom following the injunctions obtained in the High Court by (i) Barclays and Freshfields solicitors on 19 March 2009 on the publication of internal Barclays reports documenting alleged tax avoidance schemes and (ii) Trafigura and Carter-Ruck solicitors on 11 September 2009 on the publication of the Minton report on the alleged dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast, commissioned by Trafigura.
This case has serious implications for the ability of the press to report on Parliamentary proceedings and calls into question Lord Denning's ruling in the 1970s that "whatever comments are made in parliament" can be reported in newspapers without fear of contempt.
Carter-Ruck withdraw their injunction against the Guardian at the 11th hour. Victory to the "court of public opinion" and all the bloggers and twitterers!
Read the latest here.