Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2008

27.

Anonymity in civil proceedings in relation to medical condition of relevant person.

27.— (1) Where in any civil proceedings (including such proceedings on appeal) a relevant person has a medical condition, an application may be made to the court in which the proceedings have been brought by any party to the proceedings for an order under this section prohibiting the publication or broadcast of any matter relating to the proceedings which would, or would be likely to, identify the relevant person as a person having that condition.

(2) An application for an order under this section may be made at any stage of the proceedings.

(3) The court shall grant an order under this section only if it is satisfied that—

( a) the relevant person concerned has a medical condition,

( b) his or her identification as a person with that condition would be likely to cause undue stress to him or her, and

( c) the order would not be prejudicial to the interests of justice.

(4) An appeal from a refusal or grant of an application for an order under this section may be made by any party to the proceedings and shall lie—

( a) in relation to proceedings before the District Court, to the Circuit Court,

( b) in relation to proceedings before the Circuit Court, to the High Court, and

( c) in relation to proceedings before the High Court, to the Supreme Court.

(5) The court—

( a) hearing an appeal under subsection (4) may vary or revoke the order under this section the subject of the appeal,

( b) hearing an appeal against a decision in civil proceedings in which an order under this section was made may vary or revoke the order on application made in that behalf by any party to the proceedings.

(6) An application for an order under this section, an appeal under subsection (4) or an application referred to in subsection (5)(b)

( a) may only be made by a party to the proceedings on notice to the other party or parties to the proceedings, and

( b) shall be made to the judge concerned in chambers.

(7) Each of the following persons who publishes or broadcasts any matter in contravention of an order under this section (including any such order as varied on appeal) is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €25,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or both:

( a) if the matter is published in a newspaper or periodical, any proprietor, editor or publisher of the newspaper or periodical;

( b) if the matter is published otherwise, the person who publishes it;

( c) if the matter is broadcast, any person transmitting or providing the programme in which the broadcast is made and any person having functions in relation to the programme corresponding to those of an editor of a newspaper.

(8) Where a person is charged with an offence under subsection (7), it shall be a defence to prove that at the time of the alleged offence the person was not aware, and neither suspected nor had any reason to suspect, that the publication or broadcast concerned was of any such matter as is mentioned in subsection (1).

(9) ( a) Where an offence under subsection (7) has been committed by a body corporate and it is proved to have been so committed with the consent or connivance of or to be attributable to any neglect on the part of any person who, when the offence was committed, was a director, manager, secretary or other officer of the body corporate, or a person purporting to act in any such capacity, that person, as well as the body corporate, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished as if he or she were guilty of the first-mentioned offence.

( b) Where the affairs of a body corporate are managed by its members, paragraph (a) shall apply in relation to the acts and defaults of a member in connection with the functions of management as if he or she were a director or manager of the body corporate.

(10) This section applies to civil proceedings that are either—

( a) brought on or after the commencement of this section, or

( b) pending on the date of such commencement.

(11) In this section—

“ broadcast ” means the transmission, relaying or distribution by wireless telegraphy, cable or the internet of communications, sounds, visual images or signals, intended for reception by the public generally or a section of it, whether the broadcast is so received or not;

“ publish ” means publish, other than by way of broadcast, to the public generally or a section of it;

“ relevant person ”, in relation to civil proceedings, means—

( a) a party to the proceedings, or

( b) a person called or proposed to be called to give evidence in the proceedings.