Privacy and open justice clashed in the whistleblower case (above), and open justice won.
But what if the conflict is between confidentiality and free speech? That was the issue in a High Court action by Ashworth Hospital against Mirror Group Newspapers over a daily journal kept by nurses on Moors murderer Ian Brady, detailing everything he said and did.
A judge ordered the Mirror to disclose the name of the mole who had handed over the diary to the paper for£1,500. The Mirror is appealing.
The day the hospital won, the Appeal Court overturned a ruling that the Express must disclose the name of a source who handed over a confidential legal opinion drafted for the singer Elton John, found in the bin outside his barrister's chambers. Lord Woolf, master of the rolls, said there was a 'prime need' to protect sources 'in the interests of ensuring a free press in a democratic society'.
Will the ruling against the Mirror be similarly overturned on appeal? The interests protected by confidentiality are different - medical confidentiality and legal professional privilege - but both have traditionally been protected by the courts. The case for protecting medical records is arguably stronger.
But with the Human Rights Act due to come into force in October, the appeal courts are showing signs of giving greater weight than in the past to free speech.