British Broadcasting Corporation v Kelly: FD 9 Aug 2000

The interview for television of a child ward of court who had gone to live with members of a religious sect was not necessarily a contempt of court. There are three groups of ways in which a ward’s interests can be protected. First where the wardship would lead to no special action, and the ward would take action himself, where the jurisdiction was exercisable, but after a balancing exercise in which the child’s interests were not paramount, and where a major decision was to be made in which case the jurisdiction was exercisable. Provided the media kept within such rules as did apply, they should not need to apply to the court, and nor would they be in contempt. ‘in relation to the media the exercise of the court’s inherent parens patriae or wardship jurisdiction is divided into three parts: the first part, in which the jurisdiction is not exercisable at all and the child is left to whatever remedies against the media the law would give an adult in comparable circumstances; a second part in which the jurisdiction is exercisable, but in circumstances where, because the court is exercising only its ‘protective’ jurisdiction, the child’s interests are not paramount and where a so-called balancing exercise has to be performed; and the third part, in which, because the court is exercising its ‘custodial’ jurisdiction, the child’s interests are paramount. Well known examples of cases falling into the first category, where no injunction can be granted, are In re X (A Minor) (Wardship: Jurisdiction) [1975] Fam 47; R v Central Television plc [1994] Fam 192 and M v British Broadcasting Corpn [1997] 1 FLR 51.’


Munby J


Times 09-Aug-2000, Gazette 12-Oct-2000, [2001] 1 All ER 323, [2001] Fam 59, [2001] 1 FLR 197

Cited by:

CitedRe S (A Child) CA 10-Jul-2003
The mother of the child on behalf of whom the application was made, was to face trial for murder. The child was in care and an order was sought to restrain publiction of material which might reveal his identity, including matters arising during the . .
CitedIn re S (A Child) (Identification: Restrictions on Publication) CA 10-Jul-2003
An order was sought to protect from publicity a child whose mother faced trial for the murder of his brother. The child was now in care.
Held: The court must balance the need to protect the child with the need for freedom of the press. The . .
CitedKent 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 . .
CitedA Local Authority v W L W T and R; In re W (Children) (Identification: Restrictions on Publication) FD 14-Jul-2005
An application was made by a local authority to restrict publication of the name of a defendant in criminal proceedings in order to protect children in their care. The mother was accused of having assaulted the second respondent by knowingly . .
CitedBritish Broadcasting Company v Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council and X and Y FD 24-Nov-2005
Application was made by the claimant for orders discharging an order made in 1991 to protect the identity of children and social workers embroiled in allegations of satanic sex abuse. The defendant opposed disclosure of the names of two social . .
CitedNorfolk County Council v Webster and others FD 17-Nov-2006
There had been care proceedings following allegations of physical child abuse. There had been a residential assessment. The professionals accepted the parents’ commitment to their son, but also found that they were unreliable. It was recommended . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Children, Media, Contempt of Court

Updated: 10 May 2022; Ref: scu.78610