In 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 issue in the case was not itself about the care of this child, and therefore the child’s interests were not paramount. The court had three jurisdiction as identified in Kelly. The welfare of the child could affect determination of factual issues. The court was not, in this case, exercising any jursidiction over the care of the child. The authorities had not been all one way, and the court was being asked to exercise a new jurisdiction. Although nothing would be published directly about the child, this was not a case where his connection was distant enough to preserve his identity from being known. On the other side of the balance was the need at common law and in human rights law, for freedom of speech and of the press. The High Court has jurisdiction to make orders binding on a criminal court, but these powers could be exercised only sparingly. Lady Hale’s analysis of the law was accepted by the other judge’s but they differed as to the conclusion in this case and the judge’s order declining to make an order to protect the child’s identity was upheld.


Lady Justice Hale (dissenting), Lord Justice Latham Lord Phillips Of Worth Matravers, Mr


Times 21-Jul-2003, [2003] EWCA Civ 963, Gazette 11-Sep-2003, [2003] 2 FLR 1253, [2003] 3 WLR 1425


Children and Young Persons Act 1933 39


England and Wales


CitedIn re Z (A Minor) (Identification: Restrictions on Publication) CA 31-Jul-1995
The court was asked whether the daughter of Cecil Parkinson and Sarah Keays should be permitted to take part in a television programme about the specialist help she was receiving for her special educational needs.
Held: The court refused to . .
CitedIn re X (A Minor) (Wardship: Jurisdiction) CA 2-Jan-1975
A child’s stepfather obtained an order preventing publication of a book about the child.
Held: The circumstances were novel, but ‘The court has power to protect the ward from any interference with his or her welfare, direct or indirect.’ There . .
CitedIn 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 . .
CitedIn re W (A Minor) (Wardship: Restrictions on Publication) CA 1992
The court considered the risks of a child being identified despite restrictions on disclosure: ‘It is to be anticipated that in almost every case the public interest in favour of publication can be satisfied without any identification of the ward to . .
CitedBritish 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 . .
CitedS v McC; W v W HL 1972
The distinction between the court’s ‘custodial’ and ‘protective’ jurisdictions was recognised. The case concerned the ordering of blood tests with a view to determining the paternity of a child involved in divorce proceedings. This was not a matter . .
CitedX County Council v A and another 1984
The court made orders about the future of the child born to Mary Bell, who had been convicted at the age of 11 of the manslaughter of two little boys. He was asked to protect the new identities under which the child and her mother were living. . .
CitedIn re F (otherwise A ) (A Minor) (Publication of Information) CA 1977
An allegation of contempt was made in proceedings related to the publication by a newspaper of extracts from a report by a social worker and a report by the Official Solicitor, both prepared after the commencement and for the purpose of the wardship . .
CitedRe W (Wards) (Publication of Information) FD 1989
An injunction was given to prohibit wards of court being named during the Cleveland child abuse inquiry. A summary of what has been said in court and written before hand in statements and reports are as much prohibited from publication as are direct . .
CitedIn re H and R (Minors) (Child Sexual Abuse: Standard of Proof) HL 14-Dec-1995
Evidence allowed – Care Application after Abuse
Children had made allegations of serious sexual abuse against their step-father. He was acquitted at trial, but the local authority went ahead with care proceedings. The parents appealed against a finding that a likely risk to the children had still . .
CitedRe H (Minors) (Injunction: Public Interest) 1994
A father with whom children were living was restrained from publicising his sex change in order to protect the children from harassment. The injunction was in contra mundum form. . .
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 R (Wardship: Restrictions on Publication) CA 1994
The parents had separated and the child made a ward of court. The mother had care and control and the father had access. The father abducted the child to Israel but she was recovered. The father was extradited to stand trial here. He sought . .
CitedDiennet v France ECHR 26-Sep-1995
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Violation of Art. 6-1 (publicly); No violation of Art. 6-1 (impartiality); Non-pecuniary damage – finding of violation sufficient; Costs and expenses partial award – . .
Appeal fromRe S (A Child) (Identification: Restrictions on Publication) FD 19-Feb-2003
A trial judge had refused an order that steps should not be taken so as to allow S to be identified in reporting the trial of his mother for the alleged murder of his brother by salt poisoning.
Held: The court dismissed the application for an . .

Cited by:

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 . .
CitedCampbell v Mirror Group Newspapers Ltd (MGN) (No 1) HL 6-May-2004
The claimant appealed against the denial of her claim that the defendant had infringed her right to respect for her private life. She was a model who had proclaimed publicly that she did not take drugs, but the defendant had published a story . .
Appeal fromIn 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 . .
CitedCampbell v MGN Ltd (No 2) HL 20-Oct-2005
The appellant sought to challenge the level of costs sought by the claimant after she had succeeded in her appeal to the House. Though a relatively small sum had been awarded, the costs and success fee were very substantial. The newspaper claimed . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Children, Media, Human Rights

Updated: 08 May 2022; Ref: scu.184775