New Judgment: RFU v Consolidated Information Services Ltd (formerly Viagogo Ltd)  UKSC 55
21 Wednesday Nov 2012
On appeal from:  EWCA Civ 1585.
The High Court granted the RFU a Norwich Pharmacal order requiring the appellant, Viagogo, to disclose the identities of those involved in rugby ticket sales through its website. The order was made on the grounds that the RFU had a good arguable case that those selling and purchasing the tickets had been guilty of breach of contract and that it was appropriate to grant the order for them to obtain redress. The issue before the Supreme Court was whether the grant of the order involved a breach of ECHR, art 8.
The Court unanimously dismissed the appeal. The essential purpose of a Norwich Pharmacal order was to do justice in the case. This involved a careful weighing of all the relevant factors including the strength of the cause of action, whether those who have committed the alleged wrong knew or would have been likely to know that what they were doing was unlawful and the privacy rights of those whose identities were to be revealed. Lord Kerr held that the appropriate test of proportionality under ECHR, art 8 involved weighing the benefit of the information being sought by the RFU against the impact that disclosure was likely to have on the individual concerned. The appellant was wrong to suggest that the assessment had to be carried out solely by reference to the particular benefit that obtaining information in relation to an individual might bring. It was artificial and unrealistic to suggest that the RFU’s aim of discouraging others in the future from flouting its rules should not be considered.