Save in cases involving children and ancillary and other situations requiring it, cases in the family division were not inherently private. The appellant failed to obtain an order that details of an action under the section should not be disclosed by the media.
Held: The description of the law at first instance was too wide in stating that family proceedings could not, with the exception of children cases, be heard in private. It does not follow alone from the fact that a hearing was in private that there was a ban on reporting it. Family proceedings are not different from other civil proceedings, save in recognised classes of cases, and situations which manifestly required permanent confidentiality. There is no one approach to the balance between the right to family life in article 8 and freedom of expression in article 10 of the Convention.
Whether family proceedings in chambers are protected from publication depends upon whether they come within the 1960 Act or whether the administration of justice will otherwise be impeded or prejudiced by publication.
There is an implied obligation upon a party to whom documents are disclosed in proceedings for ancillary relief not to disseminate them, or copies of them, to third parties without the leave of the court
Butler-Sloss P FD LJ, Lord Justice Thorpe, and, Lord Justice Keene
Times 05-Feb-2002, Gazette 14-Mar-2002,  EWCA Civ 45,  Fam 261,  1 FLR 565,  UKHRR 697
Family Law Act 1996 36, Family Proceedings Rules 1991 (1991 No 1247 (L20)) 3.9(1, Administration of Justice Act 1960 12
England and Wales
Cited – Hodgson and others v Imperial Tobacco Limited Gallagher Limited etc CA 12-Feb-1998
A large number of plaintiffs brought actions against the defendants, three tobacco companies, claiming damages for personal injuries by reason of cancer which they claimed was caused by smoking cigarettes manufactured by the defendants. A hearing . .
Cited – Scott v Scott HL 5-May-1913
Presumption in Favour of Open Proceedings
There had been an unauthorised dissemination by the petitioner to third parties of the official shorthand writer’s notes of a nullity suit which had been heard in camera. An application was made for a committal for contempt.
Held: The House . .
Appeal from – Clibbery v Allan and Another FD 2-Jul-2001
There is nothing inherently different in Family Division proceedings to justify an implied ban on all disclosures of matters proceeding in chambers. Here no children or other sensitive matters were involved. The simple filing of an affidavit . .
Cited – P v P (Ancillary Relief: Proceeds of Crime) FD 8-Oct-2003
The parties sought guidance from the court on the circumstances which arose in ancillary relief proceedings where a legal representative came to believe that one party might be holding the proceeds of crime. In the course of ancillary relief . .
Cited – Kent County Council v The Mother, The Father, B (By Her Children’s Guardian); Re B (A Child) (Disclosure) FD 19-Mar-2004
The council had taken the applicant’s children into care alleging that the mother had harmed them. In the light of the subsequent cases casting doubt on such findings, the mother sought the return of her children. She applied now that the hearings . .
Cited – P v BW (Children Cases: Hearings in Public) FD 2003
The applicant sought a joint residence order, and for a declaration that the rules preventing such hearings being in public breached the requirement for a public hearing.
Held: Both FPR 1991 rule 4.16(7) and section 97 are compatible with the . .
Cited – Pelling v Bruce-Williams, Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs intervening CA 5-Jul-2004
The applicant sought an order that his application for a joint residence order should be held in public.
Held: Though there was some attractiveness in the applicant’s arguments, the issue had been fully canvassed by the ECHR. The time had come . .
Cited – Harb v King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz CA 26-May-2005
The wife sought an order for reasonable maintenance from His Majesty King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz. He replied that he was immune from suit.
Held: The King as king was immune. The judge at first instance had been wrong to give the case fictitious . .
Cited – Clayton v Clayton CA 27-Jun-2006
The family had been through protracted family law proceedings and had been subject to orders restricting identification. The father now wanted to discuss his experiences and to campaign. He could not do so without his child being identified.
Cited – Norfolk County Council v Webster and others FD 1-Nov-2006
The claimants wished to claim that they were victims of a miscarriage of justice in the way the Council had dealt with care proceedings. They sought that the proceedings should be reported without the children being identified.
Held: A judge . .
Cited – LM, Re (Reporting Restrictions; Coroner’s Inquest) FD 1-Aug-2007
A child had died. In earlier civil proceedings, the court had laid responsibility with the mother. Restrictions had been placed on the information which would effectively prevent the coroner conducting his inquest. The coroner sought a lifting of . .
Cited – Child X (Residence and Contact- Rights of Media Attendance) (Rev 2) FD 14-Jul-2009
The father applied to the court to have the media excluded from the hearing into the residence and contact claims relating to his daughter.
Held: It was for the party seeking such an order to justify it. In deciding whether or not to exclude . .
Cited – Gelber v Griffin FD 22-Nov-2006
Complaint was made that a party had disclosed confidential material received through disclosure to a third party.
Held: There was an implied duty of confidence arising in the disclosure process. . .
Cited – Davies v Welch Admn 4-Nov-2010
The applicant sought the committal of the respondent for contempt. The defendant, a solicitor had acted for the claimant’s wife in ancillary relief proceedings. He complained that documents sent to her under implied undertakings of confidentiality . .
Cited – H v A (No2) FD 17-Sep-2015
The court had previously published and then withdrawn its judgment after third parties had been able to identify those involved by pulling together media and internet reports with the judgment.
Held: The judgment case should be published in . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 08 January 2021; Ref: scu.167525