In re W (Wardship: Discharge: Publicity): CA 1995

Four wards of court aged between nine and 14 had given an interview to a newspaper reporter, who plainly knew that they were wards of court, in circumstances which clearly troubled both the Official Solicitor, their guardian ad litem, who immediately applied for injunctions to restrain any repetition.
Held: The views about the courts system of the mothers and fathers caught up in it, are: ‘matters of public interest which can and should be discussed publicly’. Injunctions were refused.
Balcombe LJ commented: ‘I accept that the representation of children in family proceedings, and the role of the Official Solicitor, are matters of public interest which can and should be discussed publicly. I also accept that a boy of 15 may be sufficiently mature to be able to speak directly to, and be interviewed by, representatives of the press or broadcasting media. However, there can be no public interest in identifying members of his family: that would be only public curiosity.
Further, the three younger boys are unlikely to be of sufficient intellectual or emotional maturity to appreciate the dangers inherent in becoming involved in media publicity. In my judgment, a proper balance between these conflicting considerations can be achieved by amending the order of 19th May 1994.’


Balcombe, Waite LJJ


[1995] 2 FLR 466


England and Wales

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 . .
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 . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedRe A Ward of Court FD 4-May-2017
Ward has no extra privilege from Police Interview
The court considered the need to apply to court in respect of the care of a ward of the court when the Security services needed to investigate possible terrorist involvement of her and of her contacts. Application was made for a declaration as to . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Children, Media

Updated: 12 December 2022; Ref: scu.194859