In 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 vary an injunction against publication of any details with regard to a particular child. This was based on the Court’s parens patriae jurisdiction and was taken not so much for the protection of the administration of justice but in accordance with the Court’s quasi-parental responsibilities in a context where, under the Children Act 1989, the interests of the child were paramount.
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.
Sir Thomas Bingham MR said: ‘I understood the mother’s counsel to advance two reasons why discretion could only be properly exercised to the effect contended for. The first was that the court should never override the decision of a devoted and responsible parent such as this mother was found to be. I would for my part accept without reservation that the decision of a devoted and responsible parent should be treated with respect. It should certainly not be disregarded or lightly set aside. But the role of the court is to exercise an independent and objective judgment. If that judgment is in accord with that of the devoted and responsible parent, well and good. If it is not, then it is the duty of the court, after giving due weight to the view of the devoted and responsible parent, to give effect to its own judgment. That is what it is there for. Its judgment may of course be wrong. So may that of the parent. But once the jurisdiction of the court is invoked its clear duty is to reach and give the best judgment that it can.’
Ward LJ said that the jurisdiction can be exercised and a parent can be restrained either by an in personam injunction or, where appropriate by a prohibited steps order under section 8 of the 1989 Act. It was not necessary to make the child a ward in order to invoke the inherent jurisdiction of the court.


Sir Thomas Bingham MR, Ward LJ


[1997] Fam 1, [1996] 1 FLR 197, [1996] 2 WLR 88


Children Act 1989 8


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedKeays v Guardian Newspapers Limited, Alton, Sarler QBD 1-Jul-2003
The claimant asserted defamation by the defendant. The parties sought a decision on whether the article at issue was a comment piece, in which case the defendant could plead fair comment, or one asserting fact, in which case that defence would not . .
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 . .
CitedIn Re A (Minors) (Conjoined Twins: Medical Treatment); aka In re A (Children) (Conjoined Twins: Surgical Separation) CA 22-Sep-2000
Twins were conjoined (Siamese). Medically, both could not survive, and one was dependent upon the vital organs of the other. Doctors applied for permission to separate the twins which would be followed by the inevitable death of one of them. 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 . .
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 . .
CitedB (A Child); Re C (Welfare of Child: Immunisation) CA 30-Jul-2003
The father sought a specific issue order for the immunisation of his child in particular with the MMR vaccine. The mother opposed all immunisation.
Held: Whether a child was to be refused immunisation was an issue on which both parents should . .
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 . .
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 . .
CitedJones v Kernott SC 9-Nov-2011
Unmarried Couple – Equal division displaced
The parties were unmarried but had lived together. They now disputed the shares in which they had held the family home. It had been bought in joint names, but after Mr Kernott (K) left in 1993, Ms Jones (J) had made all payments on the house. She . .
CitedIn re T (a Minor) CA 24-Oct-1996
C was born with a liver defect. After a failed operation, the parents, both caring health professionals, decided not to put him through major surgery again. The local authority and doctors obtained an order to allow a potentially life saving liver . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Children, Media

Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.184400