In 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 be applied to avoid his identity being known. The trial judge made an order under the 1933 Act, but this was overturned, lastly at the Court of Appeal.
Held: The case involved the conflict between articles 8 and 10. ‘the ordinary rule is that the press, as the watchdog of the public, may report everything that takes place in a criminal court.’ . . ‘I would add that in European jurisprudence and in domestic practice this is a strong rule. It can only be displaced by unusual or exceptional circumstances. It is, however, not a mechanical rule. The duty of the court is to examine with care each application for a departure from the rule by reason of rights under article 8 . . earlier case law about the existence and scope of inherent jurisdiction need not be considered in this case or in similar cases. The foundation of the jurisdiction to restrain publicity in a case such as the present is now derived from convention rights under the ECHR.’
Though invoked on this occasion in support of a child, the result of granting an order would not be so restricted in future cases, the scope of the order might be increased, the result for the media may be to lessen their interest, and therefore the part they play. Last the need to challenge such proceedings may be prohibitively expensive for many news organisations, particularly local. No one Convention right takes automatic precedence over another. The appeal was denied.
Lord Steyn identified four propositions: ‘1. Neither Article (8 nor 10) as such has precedence over the other
2. Where values under the two Articles are in conflict, an intense focus on the comparative importance of the specific rights being claimed in the individual case is necessary
3. The justifications for interfering with or restricting each right must be taken into account
4. The proportionality test must be applied to each’.

Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, [2004] UKHL 47, Times 29-Oct-2004, [2005] 1 FLR 591, [2005] 1 AC 593, 17 BHRC 646, [2004] 4 All ER 683, [2005] Crim LR 310, [2004] 3 FCR 407, [2005] HRLR 5, [2004] 3 WLR 1129, [2005] EMLR 11, [2005] UKHRR 129, [2005] EMLR 2
House of Lords, Bailii
Children and Young Persons Act 1933 39, European Convention on Human Rights 8 10
England and Wales
Citing:
At first instanceRe 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 . .
Appeal fromIn 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 . .
CitedPretto And Others v Italy ECHR 8-Dec-1983
The court considered the value of court proceedings being public: ‘The public character of proceedings before the judicial bodies referred to in Article 6(1) protects litigants against the administration of justice in secret with no public scrutiny; . .
CitedAxen v Germany ECHR 8-Dec-1983
‘The public character of proceedings before the judicial bodies referred to in Article 6(1) protects litigants against the administration of justice in secret with no public scrutiny; it is also one of the means whereby confidence in the courts, . .
CitedWerner v Austria ECHR 24-Nov-1997
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Preliminary objection joined to merits (non-exhaustion); Preliminary objection rejected (non-exhaustion); Pecuniary damage – claim rejected; Costs and expenses . .
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 – . .
CitedScott 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 . .
CitedBakova v Slovakia ECHR 12-Nov-2002
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Violation of Art. 6-1 ; Pecuniary damage – claim rejected ; Non-pecuniary damage – financial award ; Costs and expenses partial award – domestic proceedings . .
CitedMachous v The Czech Republic ECHR 12-Jul-2001
. .
CitedAttorney-General v Leveller Magazine Ltd HL 1-Feb-1979
The appellants were magazines and journalists who published, after committal proceedings, the name of a witness, a member of the security services, who had been referred to as Colonel B during the hearing. An order had been made for his name not to . .
CitedRiepan v Austria ECHR 14-Nov-2000
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Violation of Art. 6-1; Pecuniary damage – claim rejected; Non-pecuniary damage – finding of violation sufficient; Costs and expenses partial award – Convention . .
CitedIn re X (A Minor) (Wardship: Jurisdiction) FD 1975
A stepfather made the child a ward of court in order to try to stop publication of a book containing passages about the sex life of her deceased father. The jurisdiction to order that a child’s name should not be made known, is not exercisable at . .
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 . .
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 . .
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. . .
CitedRe C (Wardship: Medical Treatment) (No 2) CA 1989
The court had already made an order about the way in which the health professionals were able to look after a severely disabled baby girl; an injunction was granted prohibiting identification of the child, her parents, her current carers and the . .
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 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 . .
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 . .
CitedReynolds v Times Newspapers Ltd and others HL 28-Oct-1999
Fair Coment on Political Activities
The defendant newspaper had published articles wrongly accusing the claimant, the former Prime Minister of Ireland of duplicity. The paper now appealed, saying that it should have had available to it a defence of qualified privilege because of the . .

Cited by:
CitedGreene v Associated Newspapers Ltd CA 5-Nov-2004
The claimant appealed against refusal of an order restraining publication by the respondent of an article about her. She said that it was based upon an email falsely attributed to her.
Held: ‘in an action for defamation a court will not impose . .
CitedW v Westminster City Council and Others QBD 9-Dec-2004
The claimant sought to bring an action for defamation based upon communications made in a child protection conference. The reference was in a Report for Conference to be held pursuant to the duties imposed on local authorities by the Children Act . .
CitedEnergy Financing Team Ltd and others v The Director of the Serious Fraud Office, Bow Street Magistrates Court Admn 22-Jul-2005
The claimants sought to set aside warrants and executions under them to provide assistance to a foreign court investigating alleged unlawful assistance to companies in Bosnia Herzegovina.
Held: The issue of such a warrant was a serious step. . .
CitedE v Channel Four, News International Ltd and St Helens Borough Council FD 1-Jun-2005
The applicant sought an order restraining publication by the defendants of material, saying she did not have capacity to consent to the publication. She suffered a multiple personality disorder. She did herself however clearly wish the film to be . .
CitedGazette Media Company Ltd. and Others, Regina (on the Application Of) v Teeside Crown Court CACD 26-Jul-2005
The claimants appealed an order restricting their reporting of a criminal case so as to identify the defendant.
Held: Orders preventing the naming of a defendant in order to protect associated children are unlikely to enhance any child . .
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 . .
CitedMersey Care NHS Trust v Ackroyd QBD 7-Feb-2006
The trust, operators of Ashworth Secure Hospital sought from the defendant journalist disclosure of the name of their employee who had revealed to the defendant matters about the holding of Ian Brady, the Moors Murderer, and in particular medical . .
CitedNorfolk 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 . .
CitedX and Y v Persons Unknown QBD 8-Nov-2006
The claimants sought an injunction against unknown persons who were said to have divulged confidential matters to newspapers. The order had been served on newspapers who now complained that the order was too uncertain to allow them to know how to . .
CitedAssociated Newspapers Ltd v Prince of Wales CA 21-Dec-2006
The defendant newspaper appealed summary judgment against it for breach of confidence and copyright infringement having published the claimant’s journals which he said were private.
Held: Upheld, although the judge had given insufficient . .
CitedMersey Care NHS Trust v Ackroyd CA 21-Feb-2007
The defendant journalist had published confidential material obtained from the claimant’s secure hospital at Ashworth. The hospital now appealed against the refusal of an order for him to to disclose his source.
Held: The appeal failed. Given . .
CitedLord Browne of Madingley v Associated Newspapers Ltd CA 3-Apr-2007
The appellant sought to restrict publication by the defendants in the Mail on Sunday of matters which he said were a breach of confidence. He had lied to a court in giving evidence, whilst at the same time being ready to trash the reputation of his . .
CitedLM, 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 . .
CitedMurray v Express Newspapers Plc and Another ChD 7-Aug-2007
The claimant, now aged four and the son of a famous author, was photographed by use of a long lens, but in a public street. He now sought removal of the photograph from the defendant’s catalogue, and damages for breach of confidence.
Held: The . .
CitedBritish Broadcasting Corporation v CAFCASS Legal and others FD 30-Mar-2007
Parents of a child had resisted care proceedings, and now wished the BBC to be able to make a TV programme about their case. They applied to the court for the judgment to be released. Applications were also made to have a police officer’s and . .
CitedMosley v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 24-Jul-2008
mosley_newsgroupQBD2008
The defendant published a film showing the claimant involved in sex acts with prostitutes. It characterised them as ‘Nazi’ style. He was the son of a fascist leader, and a chairman of an international sporting body. He denied any nazi element, and . .
CitedTimes Newspapers Ltd v Secretary of State for the Home Department and AY Admn 17-Oct-2008
The newspaper applied to challenge the protection of the identity of the defendant subject to a control order under the 2005 Act. It said that there was no basis for the making of the order without first considering the Human Rights need for open . .
CitedTimes Newspapers Ltd and others v Regina and others CMAC 24-Oct-2008
Anonymity not to be by secret trial
The newspaper appealed against an order for the defendant soldiers’ trial to be held in camera.
Held: Section 94(2) could not be used to provide anonymity. The court relied on its common law powers under which: ‘for us to be entitled to make . .
CitedTimes Newspapers Ltd and others v Soldier B CACD 24-Oct-2008
(Court’s Martial Appeal Court) The newspaper appealed against an order under section 94 of the 1955 Act restricting the identification of the defendants. The judge had said there would be a threat to both the safety of the defendants and as to the . .
CitedClift v Slough Borough Council and Another QBD 6-Jul-2009
clift_sloughQBD09
The claimant sought damages for defamation. The council had decided that she had threatened a member of staff and notified various people, and entered her name on a violent persons register. She alleged malice, the council pleaded justification and . .
CitedMetropolitan International Schools Ltd. (T/A Skillstrain And/Or Train2Game) v Designtechnica Corp (T/A Digital Trends) and Others QBD 16-Jul-2009
The claimant complained that the defendant had published on its internet forums comments by posters which were defamatory of it, and which were then made available by the second defendant search engine. The court was asked what responsibility a . .
CitedAttorney General’s Reference No 3 of 1999: Application By the British Broadcasting Corporation To Set Aside or Vary a Reporting Restriction Order HL 17-Jun-2009
An application was made to discharge an anonymity order made in previous criminal proceedings before the House. The defendant was to be retried for rape under the 2003 Act, after an earlier acquittal. The applicant questioned whether such a order . .
CitedFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd QBD 2-Oct-2009
The defendant had published a story in its newspaper. At that time it attracted Reynolds qualified privilege. After the circumstances changed, the paper offered an updating item. That offer was rejected as inadequate.
Held: The qualified . .
CitedChild 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 . .
CitedIn re Guardian News and Media Ltd and Others; HM Treasury v Ahmed and Others SC 27-Jan-2010
Proceedings had been brought to challenge the validity of Orders in Council which had frozen the assets of the claimants in those proceedings. Ancillary orders were made and confirmed requiring them not to be identified. As the cases came to the . .
CitedDoctor A and Others v Ward and Another FD 8-Jan-2010
Parents wished to publicise the way care proceedings had been handled, naming the doctors, social workers and experts some of whom had been criticised. Their names had been shown as initials so far, and interim contra mundum orders had been made . .
CitedDoctor A and Others v Ward and Another FD 9-Feb-2010
. .
CitedIn re W (Children) (Family proceedings: Evidence) (Abuse: Oral Evidence) SC 3-Mar-2010
The court considered the approach to be taken when considering whether to order a child’s attendance at court in care proceedings. It was argued that the starting point of assuming that a child should not attend, failed to respect the human right to . .
CitedA v Independent News and Media Ltd and Others CA 31-Mar-2010
The newspapers sought leave to report proceedings before the Court of Protection in connection with a patient unable to manage his own affairs. The patient retained a possible capacity to work as a professional musician. The family wanted the . .
CitedFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd CA 13-Jul-2010
The claimant police officer complained of an article he said was defamatory in saying he was being investigated for allegations of accepting bribes. The article remained on the internet even after he was cleared. Each party appealed interim orders. . .
CitedRST v UVW QBD 11-Sep-2009
The applicant sought an interim and without notice injunction preventing the defendant from disclosing confidential information covered by an agreement between the parties.
Held: The order was made on a without notice application because there . .
CitedNtuli v Donald CA 16-Nov-2010
The defendant sought the discharge of a super-injunction, an order against not only the identification of the parties, but also the existence of the proceedings.
Held: The order preventing publication of the underlying allegations remained, . .
CitedMoney v AB ChD 10-Nov-2021
Anonymity – balance in favour of open justice
Ruling on an application by the Defendant for anonymity.
Held: Refused: ‘The mental health condition of the Defendant and the impact of the judgment on his family relationships are, therefore, relevant factors to take into account, but they do . .
CitedETK v News Group Newspapers Ltd CA 19-Apr-2011
The claimant appealed against refusal of an injunction to restrain the defendant newspaper from publishing his name in connection with a forthcoming article. The claimant had had an affair with a co-worker. Both were married. The relationship ended, . .
CitedCTB v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another (1) QBD 16-May-2011
ctb_newsQBD11
A leading footballer had obtained an injunction restraining the defendants from publishing his identity and allegations of sexual misconduct. The claimant said that she had demanded money not to go public.
Held: It had not been suggested that . .
CitedTSE and ELP v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 23-May-2011
The claimants had obtained an injunction preventing publication of details of their private lives and against being publicly named. The newspaper had not attempted to raise any public interest defence. Various publications had taken place to breach . .
CitedGoodwin v NGN Ltd and VBN QBD 9-Jun-2011
goodwin_ngn4QBD11
The claimant had obtained an injunction preventing publication of his name and that of his coworker with whom he had had an affair. After widespread publication of his name elsewhere, the defendant had secured the discharge of the order as regards . .
CitedCommissioner of Police of The Metropolis and Another v Times Newspapers Ltd and Another QBD 21-Jun-2011
The defendant had published an article based upon information said to be confidential and leaked from the claimant’s offices. A defamation claimant was suing the defendant in defamation, and the defendant wished to rely on the information in its . .
CitedIn re A (A Minor) FD 8-Jul-2011
An application was made in care proceedings for an order restricting publication of information about the family after the deaths of two siblings of the child subject to the application. The Sun and a local newspaper had already published stories . .
CitedFerdinand v MGN Limited QBD 29-Sep-2011
fedinand_mgnQBD2011
The claimant, a famous footballer, complained that an article by the defendant relating an affair he had had, had infringed his right to privacy. The defendant relied on its right to freedom of expression. The claimant had at an earlier stage, and . .
CitedDoncaster Metropolitan Borough Council v Watson FD 1-Sep-2011
doncaster_watsonFD2011
The defendant applied to be allowed to purge her contempt of court.
Held: The court first pointed out that the defendant had not been sentenced in secret, but in open court. The contempt had been serious leading to the identity of the child . .
CitedFlood v Times Newspapers Ltd SC 21-Mar-2012
The defendant had published an article which was defamatory of the claimant police officer, saying that he was under investigation for alleged corruption. The inquiry later cleared him. The court was now asked whether the paper had Reynolds type . .
CitedMcClaren v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 5-Sep-2012
The claimant had obtained an interim injunction to restrain the defendant publishing what he said was private information about a sexual encounter. He also sought an injunction under the 1997 Act.
Held: The claim succeeded: ‘there have been . .
CitedA, Regina (on The Application of) v Lowestoft Magistrates’ Court Admn 26-Mar-2013
A had pleaded guilty to a charge of being drunk in a public place, while having the charge of a child under the age of 7 years, contrary to section 2(1) of the Licensing Act 1902. The child in question was A’s daughter, to whom I shall refer as B. B . .
CitedLondon Borough of Barnet v X and Another FC 18-Apr-2006
Barnet County Court – Munby J considered the publication of children proceedings: ‘ In my view the public generally, and not just the professional readers of law reports or similar publications, have a legitimate – indeed a compelling – interest in . .
CitedH 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 . .
CitedV v Associated Newspapers Ltd and Others CoP 25-Apr-2016
A patient had earlier been given protection by the anonymisation of her case. She had since died, and the court considered whether the order should be continued to protect members of the family.
Held: The Court of Protection had jursidiction . .
CitedA v British Broadcasting Corporation (Scotland) SC 8-May-2014
Anonymised Party to Proceedings
The BBC challenged an order made by the Court of Session in judicial review proceedings, permitting the applicant review to delete his name and address and substituting letters of the alphabet, in the exercise (or, as the BBC argues, purported . .
CitedPJS v News Group Newspapers Ltd SC 19-May-2016
The appellants had applied for restrictions on the publication of stories about their extra marital affairs. The Court of Appeal had removed the restrictions on the basis that the story had been widely spread outside the jurisdiction both on the . .
CitedOPO v MLA and Another CA 9-Oct-2014
The claimant child sought to prevent publication by his father of an autobiography which, he said, would be likely to cause him psychological harm. The father was well known classical musician who said that he had himself suffered sexual abuse as a . .
CitedWeller and Others v Associated Newspapers Ltd CA 20-Nov-2015
The three children of a musician complained of the publication of photographs taken of them in a public place in California. . .
CitedPNM v Times Newspapers Ltd and Others SC 19-Jul-2017
No anonymity for investigation suspect
The claimant had been investigated on an allegation of historic sexual abuse. He had never been charged, but the investigation had continued with others being convicted in a high profile case. He appealed from refusal of orders restricting . .
CitedRegina (on the application of C) v Secretary of State for Justice SC 27-Jan-2016
The applicant was a convicted murderer who had been held in a high security mental hospital. His application for unescorted leave had been refused, and he wished to challenge the decisions. Anonymity in the subsequent proceedings had been refused to . .
CitedNT 1 and NT 2 v Google Llc QBD 13-Apr-2018
Right to be Forgotten is not absolute
The two claimants separately had criminal convictions from years before. They objected to the defendant indexing third party web pages which included personal data in the form of information about those convictions, which were now spent. The claims . .
CitedRegina v Croydon Crown Court ex parte Trinity Mirror Plc; In re Trinity Mirror plc CACD 1-Feb-2008
An order had been made protecting the identity of a defendant who pleaded guilty to possessing indecent images of children. The order was made in the interests of his own children, although they had been neither witnesses in the proceedings against . .
CitedZC v Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust QBD 26-Jul-2019
Defamation/privacy claims against doctors failed
The claimant, seeking damages for alleged defamation, now asked for the case to be anonymised.
Held: The conditions for anonymisation were not met. The anonymity would be retained temporarily until any time for appeal had passed.
As to . .
CitedRe Al M (Children) CA 28-Feb-2020
Publication of Children judgment – wide publicity
F brought wardship proceedings in respect of M and F’s two children, seeking their return to Dubai. F was the Ruler of the Emirate of Dubai. Media companies now sought publication of earlier judgments, and F appealed from an order for their . .
CitedZXC v Bloomberg Lp CA 15-May-2020
Privacy Expecation during police investigations
Appeal from a judgment finding that the Defendant had breached the Claimant’s privacy rights. He made an award of damages for the infraction of those rights and granted an injunction restraining Bloomberg from publishing information which further . .
CitedXXX v Camden London Borough Council CA 11-Nov-2020
Anonymity in Court Proceedings – No two stage test
XXX appealed against the refusal to make orders anonymising her name and redacting certain details from published judgments. The appeal raised a point about the proper approach to applications for anonymisation under CPR 39.2. She brought . .
CitedImam, Regina (on The Application of) v The London Borough of Croydon (Anonymity request) Admn 26-Mar-2021
Anonymity Not Necessary under CPR 3.92.
Judgment on the Claimant’s application for an order under CPR 39.2(4) that her name be anonymised in these proceedings by the use of a cipher and that restrictions should be imposed on the reporting of her identity. She said that publication of her . .
CitedPembrokeshire Herald, Re (Leave To Appeal) CACD 27-Jul-2021
A teacher had been tried and acquitted of sexual assaults on girls at his school. The court made an order restricting reporting to disallow identification of anyone involved. The paper now appealed from refusal after the trial to lift the . .
CitedBelhaj and Another v Director of Public Prosecutions and Another SC 4-Jul-2018
Challenge to decision not to prosecute senior Intelligence Service officials for alleged offences in connection with his unlawful rendition and mistreatment in Libya. The issue here was whether on the hearing of the application for judicial review, . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice, Media, Human Rights, Children

Leading Case

Updated: 17 November 2021; Ref: scu.219019