In re M and N (Minors) (Wardship: Publication of Information): CA 1990

The court considered whether to order that a child’s name be not published where the decision to publish would not affect the way in which the child is cared for, the child’s welfare is relevant but not paramount and must be balanced against freedom of expression. The court’s jurisdiction does not extend to ‘injunctive protection of children from publicity which though inimicable to their welfare is not directed at them or those who care for them’. Butler-Sloss LJ said: ‘in this situation the welfare of the child is not the paramount consideration’. As to the evidence required to support a request for an injunction: ‘It has also been suggested that the evidence to be presented to the judge, at least on the inter partes hearing, should include specific evidence of, for instance, psychological harm likely to be caused to the child by the publication proposed. Again, in my view, that is a misconception, both of the function of and the experience of those sitting in the Family Division. In In re X that evidence was available and rightly did not sway the decision. The evidence of child psychiatrists is invaluable in many of the difficult decisions to be made in child cases. In my view, it is not normally necessary in order to assist a judge in balancing the welfare of the child and the right to publish and whether the child and others in the proceedings should or should not be identified’.’


Butler-Sloss LJ


[1990] Fam 211


England and Wales

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 . .
CitedR (Mrs) v Central Independent Television Plc CA 17-Feb-1994
The court did not have power to stop a TV program identifying a ward of court, but which was not about the care of the ward. The first instance court had granted an injunction in relation to a television programme dealing with the arrest and 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 . .
CitedIn re S (a Child) (Identification: Restrictions on Publication) HL 28-Oct-2004
Inherent High Court power may restrain Publicity
The claimant child’s mother was to be tried for the murder of his brother by poisoning with salt. It was feared that the publicity which would normally attend a trial, would be damaging to S, and an application was made for reporting restrictions to . .
CitedKelly (A Minor) v British Broadcasting Corporation FD 25-Jul-2000
K, aged 16, had left home to join what was said to be a religious sect. His whereabouts were unknown. He had been made a ward of court and the Official Solicitor was appointed to represent his interests. He had sent messages to say that he was well . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Children, Media

Updated: 29 April 2022; Ref: scu.184556