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Re KT [2005] EWHC 3428 (Fam)

This case concerns an application for the extension of an injunction beyond the applicant’s minority to prevent the publication of information that would lead to his identification. It was accepted that this case was exceptional and the restriction on the exercise of Article 10 was justified on the basis that the injunction was necessary to protect the applicant’s Article 8 rights.

High Court (Family Division): Bracewell J (6 July 2004)

Summary
This case concerns an application for the extension of an injunction beyond the applicant's minority to prevent the publication of information that would lead to his identification. It was accepted that this case was exceptional and the restriction on the exercise of Article 10 was justified on the basis that the injunction was necessary to protect the applicant's Article 8 rights.

Background
KT was born on 23rd December 1985. When he was aged 11 he was suspended and later excluded from school because of an allegation that he had behaved inappropriately and sexually towards another pupil at the school. The decision to exclude KT had been made on the basis of a psychiatrist's conclusions that KT had been responsible for a range of very serious sexual assaults on another pupil. These conclusions were reached despite the fact the psychiatrist never met KT and never interviewed any of the people involved in the allegations.

In 2000 permission was granted to KT to apply for a judicial review of this decision and an injunction was made under the court's inherent jurisdiction to protect children and minors. However, the local press wrote articles which included sufficient information to enable KT to be identified. Bracewell J describes the results of this on KT as 'catastrophic'. He was vilified, intimidated, bullied, verbally and physically attacked.

The application for judicial review resulted in the court concluding that the decision to exclude KT was unfair, unlawful and procedurally improper. In addition, the injunction was ordered to continue. As a result of this, further proceedings were initiated. Firstly, an allegation of professional misconduct was made to the General Medical Council against the psychiatrist. Secondly, KT made a claim for damages in the High Court against the respondents. It was these two proceedings that triggered the current application for a further order to protect the anonymity of KT beyond his minority. He sought the injunction to prevent interference with his right to private and family life and/or breaches of his right to privacy and confidentiality. A temporary injunction was granted on the ground that KT's application had a real prospect of success, convincingly established (as per Cream Holdings Limited v Banerjee [2003] 3 WLR 999).

Judgment
Having been referred to various authorities Bracewell J was satisfied that the court had jurisdiction to give injunctive relief to prevent anticipatory breaches of the law of confidence and/or the law of privacy. The second question was whether KT had demonstrated sufficiently clearly the requirement for an injunction. Bracewell J said that the threshold was very high and the case had to be exceptional. In determining whether to exercise the jurisdiction the court had to take into account Article 8 and Article 10 Human Rights Act 1998 (A v B plc [2002] 3 WLR 542). The facts relevant, in this case, to the balancing exercise are as follows:

The medical evidence was such that the judge was satisfied that the intrusion of the press would jeopardise KT's emotional and physical safety, and his Article 8 rights would be violated. This case was found to be exceptional.

Read the full text of the judgment here