open justice principle

The decision exposes media outlets in the UK to liability if they identify suspects prior to charge, but carries lesser implications elsewhere.

By Stuart Alford QC, James Lloyd, Harriet Slater, and Georgie Blears

On 16 February 2022, the UK Supreme Court held that a suspect under criminal investigation has, prior to being charged, a reasonable expectation of privacy in respect of information relating to that investigation.

The decision has important implications on the extent to which the UK media can report on criminal investigations into individuals prior to the point of charge. Nevertheless, the often international nature of criminal investigations means that the practical impact of this decision may be more limited in situations in which information may still be published in other jurisdictions.