Kelly (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 and did not wish to return. The BBC said that they wished to approach the sect to interview him.
Held: The exparte injunction was discontinued. The court pointed out the facilities available to K for assistance if required. The court had granted an interim injunction to restrain publiction of any report by the BBC. The publication of information about a ward, even if the child is known to be a ward, is not, of itself and without more ado, a contempt of court.
As to section 12 of the 1960 Act: ‘what section 12 protects is the privacy and confidentiality: (i) of the documents on the court file and (ii) of what has gone on in front of the judge in his courtroom . . In contrast, section 12 does not operate to prevent publication of the fact that wardships proceedings are on foot, nor does it prevent identification of the parties or even of the ward himself. It does not prevent reporting of the comings and goings of the parties and witnesses, nor of incidents taking place outside the court or indeed within the precincts of the court but outside the room in which the judge is conducting the proceedings. Nor does section 12 prevent public identification and at least some discussion of the issues in the wardship proceedings.’
Though the court had jurisdiction to make an order, the interviewing of a ward of court, if it stayed clear of the relevant legislation, was not something requiring the prior leave of the court. A ‘major incident’ of a child’s life requiring an order would be leaving of home, not the giving of an interview, and nor would such an interview be part of his ‘upbringing’.


Munby J


[2000] EWHC Fam 2, [2000] EWHC 3 (Fam), [2001] 1 All ER 323, [2000] 3 FCR 509, [2000] Fam Law 886, [2001] 2 WLR 253, [2001] Fam 59, [2001] 1 FLR 197, FD/00P10636


Bailii, Bailii


European Convention on Human Rights 10, Administration of Justice Act 1960 12, Contempt of Court Act 1981 2 19, Children Act 1989 97(2)


England and Wales


CitedRegina v Secretary of State for The Home Department Ex Parte Simms HL 8-Jul-1999
Ban on Prisoners talking to Journalists unlawful
The two prisoners, serving life sentences for murder, had had their appeals rejected. They continued to protest innocence, and sought to bring their campaigns to public attention through the press, having oral interviews with journalists without . .
MentionedThe Sunday Times (No 1) v The United Kingdom ECHR 26-Apr-1979
Offence must be ;in accordance with law’
The court considered the meaning of the need for an offence to be ‘in accordance with law.’ The applicants did not argue that the expression prescribed by law required legislation in every case, but contended that legislation was required only where . .
CitedThe Sunday Times v The United Kingdom (No 2) ECHR 26-Nov-1991
Any prior restraint on freedom of expression calls for the most careful scrutiny. ‘Freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society subject to paragraph (2) of Article 10. It is applicable not only to . .
CitedAttorney General v Guardian Newspapers Ltd (No.1) HL 13-Aug-1987
A retired secret service officer intended to publish his memoirs through the defendant. The house heard an appeal against a temporary injunction restraining publication.
Held: Lord Bridge delivered his dissenting speech in the case of . .
CitedIn re an Inquiry Under The Company Securities (Insider Dealing) Act 1985 HL 1988
The term ‘necessary’ will take its colour from its context; in ordinary usage it may mean, at one end of the scale, ‘indispensable’ and at the other ‘useful’ or ‘expedient’.
Lord Griffiths said: ‘What then is meant by the words ‘necessary . . . .
CitedAttorney-General v Guardian Newspapers Ltd (No 2) (‘Spycatcher’) HL 13-Oct-1988
Loss of Confidentiality Protection – public domain
A retired secret service employee sought to publish his memoirs from Australia. The British government sought to restrain publication there, and the defendants sought to report those proceedings, which would involve publication of the allegations . .
CitedRantzen v Mirror Group Newspapers (1986) Ltd and Others CA 1-Apr-1993
Four articles in the People all covered the same story about Esther Rantzen’s organisation, Childline, suggesting that the plaintiff had protected a teacher who had revealed to Childline abuses of children occurring at a school where he taught, by . .
CitedThe Zamora PC 1916
Lord Parker said: ‘The idea that the King in Council, or indeed any branch of the Executive, has power to prescribe or alter the law to be administered by the Courts of law in this country is out of harmony with the principles of our Constitution. . .
CitedSecretary of State for Defence v Guardian Newspapers Ltd (Tisdall Case) HL 1984
Lord Diplock discussed section 10 of the 1981 Act, saying: ‘The exceptions include no reference to ‘the public interest’ generally and I would add that in my view the expression ‘justice’, the interests of which are entitled to protection, is not . .
CitedCouncil of Civil Service Unions v Minister for the Civil Service HL 22-Nov-1984
Exercise of Prerogative Power is Reviewable
The House considered an executive decision made pursuant to powers conferred by a prerogative order. The Minister had ordered employees at GCHQ not to be members of trades unions.
Held: The exercise of a prerogative power of a public nature . .
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 . .
CitedDerbyshire County Council v Times Newspapers Ltd and Others HL 18-Feb-1993
Local Council may not Sue in Defamation
Local Authorities must be open to criticism as political and administrative bodies, and so cannot be allowed to sue in defamation. Such a right would operate as ‘a chill factor’ on free speech. Freedom of speech was the underlying value which . .
Citedex parte Guardian Newspapers Ltd CACD 30-Sep-1998
The defendants purported to serve a notice under Rule 24A(1) of the Crown Court Rules 1982 of an intention to apply for a hearing in camera of their application that the trial be stopped as an abuse of process.
Held: Where an application was . .
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 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 . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Brind HL 7-Feb-1991
The Home Secretary had issued directives to the BBC and IBA prohibiting the broadcasting of speech by representatives of proscribed terrorist organisations. The applicant journalists challenged the legality of the directives on the ground that they . .
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 . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Simms; ex parte O’Brien; ex parte Main CA 9-Dec-1997
The removal of a prisoner’s right to talk to the press is part of the process of imprisonment. Prisoners’ letters could be read to the extent necessary to prove that they contained legally privileged material. A prisoner has no right to an oral . .
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 . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for The Home Department Ex Parte Simms HL 8-Jul-1999
Ban on Prisoners talking to Journalists unlawful
The two prisoners, serving life sentences for murder, had had their appeals rejected. They continued to protest innocence, and sought to bring their campaigns to public attention through the press, having oral interviews with journalists without . .
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 . .
CitedIn re F (otherwise A) (A Minor) (Publication of Information) FD 1976
. .
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 . .
CitedOfficial Solicitor v News Group Newspapers FD 1994
There had been a conviction of a nurse for multiple murders. The defendant was approached by a third party and published evidence taken from children’s proceedings.
Held: The defendant was guilty of contempt. . .
CitedRe L (A Minor) (Wardship: Freedom of Publication) FD 1988
The mere fact that a child is known to be a ward of court is not sufficient to make any publication identifying the child a contempt of court. . .
CitedPickering v Liverpool Daily Post and Echo Newspapers plc HL 1991
Damages were awarded for a breach of statutory duty where the claimant had suffered loss or damage by reason of the breach. The publication at issue went beyond reporting and ‘it reached deeply into the substance of the matter which the court had . .
CitedIn Re G (Minors) (Celebrities: Publicity) CA 4-Nov-1998
Where extra publicity might attach to proceedings because of the celebrity of the parents, it was wrong to attach extra restrictions on reporting without proper cause. There remains a need to balance the need for the freedom of speech and the . .
CitedX v Dempster FD 9-Nov-1998
The columnist Nigel Dempster had written that the mother in forthcoming proceedings relating to a child was a bad mother.
Held: The article was a contempt of court. Such an allegation required proof to the criminal standard. At common law the . .
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 . .
CitedA v M (Family Proceedings: Publicity) FD 2000
In the course of a child residence and contact dispute, M made allegations against F of abuse against the child C. The allegations were investigated and substantially rejected. M passed private court materials to the press. F obtained an injunction . .
CitedM v British Broadcasting Corporation FD 1997
The applicant’s child had been fathered by donor insemination. He sought to prevent the defendant publicising his forthcoming case with the Child Support Agency in which he intended to deny a responsibility to provide child support.
Held: An . .
DoubtedIn re T (AJJ) (An Infant) CA 1970
Russell LJ said: ‘But it must be borne in mind that the infant is a ward of court under the judge’s order, and if anyone is minded to question or interview the infant they may well be at risk of being in contempt.’ . .
CitedIn 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 . .
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 . .
CitedInteroute Telecommunications (UK) Ltd v Fashion Gossip Ltd and Others ChD 10-Nov-1999
Where a party to litigation made an ex parte application, there was a clear duty on the legal representative attending to make full notes of the hearing so that, if the opposing party sought in any way to challenge what had happened, a record would . .
CitedW v H (Family Division: without notice orders) FD 10-Jul-2000
Munby J considered the practice to be followed in the Family Division when injunctions are granted ex parte and without notice against third parties in ancillary relief cases.
Held: The court traced the history of undertakings in damages give . .

Cited by:

CitedTower Hamlets v M and Others FD 27-Mar-2015
The authority sought orders to prevent the respondent children travelling to countries controlled by the ISIS groups. The parents being unlikely to be effective to restrain them, the court had made them wards of court.
Held: ‘the status of a . .
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 . .
CitedSarker, Regina v CACD 13-Jun-2018
The defendant was to face trial under the 2006 Act. He applied for an order under section 4(2) of the 1981 Act postponing the reporting of the proceedings on the grounds that knowledge by the jury of the inquiry and police investigation would be . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Children, Media, Human Rights

Updated: 18 May 2022; Ref: scu.445471