Super-injunctions have again been the focus of much media attention this week. A high court judge has made it clear that Twitter does not render super-injunctions pointless. Mr Justice Tugendhat stated that “If people publish material on a social network or other similar places it does not have the effect of rendering the injunction powerless. If they think it does it is just because they have misunderstood the purpose of the injunction.” He said it was a common misunderstanding that all injunctions were about the rich and famous and arose out of the Human Rights Act. Justice Tugendhat also lifted an order granting anonymity to ex-Royal Bank of Scotland boss Sir Fred Goodwin after the existence of Sir Fred’s injunction was made public by an MP using parliamentary privilege.

Lord Neuberger has today published his report on super-injunctions. He stated that “Our starting point was the maintenance of the fundamental principles of open justice and freedom of speech. Where privacy and confidentiality are involved, a degree of secrecy is often necessary to do justice. However, where secrecy is ordered it should only be to the extent strictly necessary to achieve the interests of justice. And, when it is ordered, the facts of the case and the reason for secrecy should be explained, as far as possible, in an openly available judgment.”

The justice secretary, Kenneth Clarke, found himself in hot water this week after making some ill-advised comments regarding sentencing for rape. Possibly as a result of the controversy he has postponed plans to announce his sentencing reforms, including the controversial move to increase discounts for early guilty pleas, until after the Whitsun break. Clarke had hoped to announce the sentencing package designed to stabilise the record prison population next Tuesday, but that has been delayed for a few weeks while ministers look again at the impact of the proposal.

Cuts in public services continue to be challenged through the courts. This week High Court judges found that Birmingham City Council acted unlawfully over a decision to reduce its provision of care for disabled people. Thursday’s ruling said local councils must abide by existing disability laws to eliminate discrimination. It said councils must take account of people’s disabilities, even where that involves treating disabled persons more favourably than others. The judgement has implications for local authorities in England and Wales.

Lawyers have called for a pause in the government’s legal aid reforms, saying they will leave the most vulnerable without access to justice. The Law Society has launched a strident attack on the Ministry of Justice’s plans to remove half a million cases a year from entitlement to funding for divorce, child maintenance, clinical negligence and welfare cases. The Law Society have claimed that the coalition government is disregarding official consultation exercises.

Two men, David Norris and Gary Dobson are to stand trial later this year at the Central Criminal Court for the murder of Stephen Lawrence. Following an application by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, the Court of Appeal quashed the acquittal of Gary Dobson and ordered a retrial.  Gary Dobson was originally acquitted in 1996 of the murder of Stephen Lawrence. He was re-charged with the allegation of murder on 8 September 2010.

We have posted on the problems regarding media reporting of cases before. However, the courts are taking action to discourage inaccurate reporting. A high court judge has criticised a senior Sunday Telegraph journalist over his reporting of a case heard in the family courts last year. Judge Bellamy said two articles written by Christopher Booker about the case were “unbalanced”, “inaccurate” and “wrong”. He also criticised Booker for failing to attend court hearings and basing his report of proceedings on an account given to him by the mother of a child who was taken into care, who was one of the parties in the case.

Finally, Nick Clegg has unveiled sweeping plans for elected members to take seats in a reformed House of Lords in the next parliament The deputy prime minister announced proposals for a cut-down second chamber, with 80% of its 300 members elected by proportional representation. Labour attacked the plan, contained in a draft bill, and argued the Liberal Democrat leader should have stuck to his party’s commitment to a wholly-elected upper House of Parliament.