username

password

Established
Housing Law WeekAlphabiolabsBerkeley Lifford Hall Accountancy ServicesIQ Legal Training

Home > Judgments

B, R & G (a Child) [2022] EWHC 320 (Fam)

Judd J refused an application for a reporting restrictions order which would prevent the reporting the names of parents and a deceased sibling in a criminal trial for the murder of the sibling on the basis of the impact on G who was subject to care proceedings. The injunction was granted to prevent the reporting of G’s existence as a member of the family.

___

The local authority (supported by the other parties to the care proceedings) argued five grounds in support of the application.

• It would be contrary to G's interests to be identified in the community as a child whose parents are subject to murder charges.

• There is a long term risk of identification given her distinctive name.

• If an adoptive care plan is pursued, the risks associated with publicity may deter prospective adopters from putting themselves forward.

• Life story work may be compromised if she is able to read press coverage about her sibling's death in an uncontrolled manner, and

• As she is one of very few twins in the area she lives in who has experienced the death of a sibling, this enhances the risk of identification.

The application was opposed on behalf of the major media groups on the basis:

• that tragic though they are, the circumstances are not exceptional and to make an order in these circumstances would be contrary to established authority.

• There is a strong imperative to permit full, contemporaneous reporting of the criminal proceedings.

• Without being able to name the defendants and/or the deceased child the trial would be rendered faceless and devoid of human interest.

• Re S (A Child) [2005] 1 AC 593, and Re Trinity Mirror PLC [2008] QB 770 cited.

• The fact that the provisions of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 did not extend to protecting a child in G's position had been considered in Re S, where the decision by Parliament  to limit the reach of the Act was considered to be significant.

• An injunction in this case would mean that reporting restrictions would be applicable in most similar cases relating to children.

Judd J refused the injunction sought on the basis that the facts were not such that the reporting of the trial would have a sufficiently immediate impact on the child to justify her Article 8 rights taking precedence over the Art 10 rights of others. A Local Authority  v W [2005] EWHC 1564 (Fam); [2006] 1 FLR1  and A County Council  v M (Children) [2012] EWHC 2038 (Fam); [2013] 2 FLR 1270 were distinguished. There was no evidence that she is likely to be affected any more than other children who very sadly have to live with the consequences of the actions of their parents. She was bound to find out the circumstances as she grew up and this would need to be managed by those caring for her. There was no particular evidence that the reporting would have an adverse impact on the search for adopters.

An order restraining the publication of details of G's existence as a member of the family was continued, on the basis that in the unlikely event it became material at the trial the order could be revisited.

Case summary by Nicholas O'Brien, Barrister, Coram Chambers

For full case, please see BAILII