Many years ago an outraged acquaintance who had bought ¼ oz of what had been sold as cannabis resin but was probably in reality an Oxo cube asked whether he could take action in the County Court to recover his money. No lawyer I, but I knew full well that English law of contract or tort provided no protection for those who came to law with other than 'clean hands'. Thus not only drug deals but gambling debts were not contracts recognised by the legal system. Neither may a prostitute go to court to recover a bilked fee, though the 'shoplifter' may face criminal charges instead. English law has always been based on moral absolutes. Strictly speaking, the doctrine of 'clean hands' applies specifically to those who seek equitable reliefs but it's a good phrase as shorthand for Ex turpi causa non oritur actio or 'from a dishonourable cause an action does not arise'.
It was in 1775 that Lord Mansfield set out the doctrine that governed English civil law; "The principle of public policy is this; ex dolo malo non oritur actio. No court will lend its aid to a man who founds his cause of action upon an immoral or an illegal act. If, from the plaintiff's own standing or otherwise, the cause of action appears to arise ex turpi causa, or the transgression of a positive law of this country, there the court says he has no right to be assisted."
However, between the eighteenth and the twenty-first century has arisen in England a moral relativism that not only permits but protects in some cases what we used to term moral turpitude. If we permit inverts to marry, how can we deny civil justice to adulterers? If buggery is legal, why not the moving images that depict it? And since buying sex is not illegal, why should the law not extend its shield to soccer players spit-roasting whores or rent boys in their hotel rooms? And so we have a stampede to law by the wicked, the depraved, the morally corrupt, the sleazy, the odious and the despicable all demanding the full force of law in protection of their flagrant immorality.
This is a gross abuse of law. In large part it has arisen from the Human Rights Act passed by Labour in 1998, but also from the intellectual weakness of our senior judiciary; the most distinguished of the realm's legal minds are collectively more bereft of talent now than for generations past. There's a mass of difference between a liberal society turning a blind eye to deviant or perverted behaviour and such behaviour being protected by law, a difference recognised instinctively by readers of the 'Sun' but not by the Master of the Rolls.
The law must change, and must change backwards. The shield of the injunction and the superinjunction must be available only to those who come to the law with clean hands. No longer must the depraved, the unnatural wantons, the perverts, the degenerates and the low, mean scrapings of the moral universe be able to gag comment, reporting or discussion of their turpitude by buying law.