Re B (Disclosure to other parties): FD 2001

There was a dispute as to whether one of the fathers involved in the proceedings should have access to certain documents, including psychiatric reports, relating to the mother, her husband and the children. Munby J considered the effect of human rights law on the disclosure procedures in children proceedings.
Held: Whilst an entitlement to a fair trial under ECHR Article 6 is absolute, this does not mean that a party has an absolute and unqualified right to see all the documents. With the advent of the 1998 Act, it was no longer true that the only interests capable of denying a litigant access to documents are the interests of children involved in the litigation. Anyone else who is involved, whether as victim, party or witness and who can demonstrate that their ECHR Article 8 rights are sufficiently engaged, can also have that interest. A limited qualification of the right to see the documents may be acceptable if directed towards a clear and proper objective. Non-disclosure must be limited to what the situation imperatively demands and is justified only when the case is compelling or strictly necessary, with the court being rigorous in its examination of the feared harm and any difficulty caused to the litigant counterbalanced by procedures designed to ensure a fair trial.


Munby J


[2001] 2 FLR 1017


European Convention on Human Rights 6, Human Rights Act 1998


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedChief Constable and Another v YK and Others FD 6-Oct-2010
The court gave directions in Forced Marriage Protection order applications. An order had been made at the request of the police on behalf of A, and the court had declined to discharge it on A’s own application.
Held: Special advocates were not . .
CitedDurham County Council v Dunn CA 13-Dec-2012
The claimant wished to begin a claim alleging historic sexual abuse while he had been at an institution run by the defendants. The claimant sought pre-trial disclosure of various documents and the court now considered the principle applicable, and . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Children, Human Rights, Litigation Practice

Updated: 11 May 2022; Ref: scu.424968