‘This case raises important questions about the extent to which the public should be able to read and see what disgruntled parents say when they speak out about what they see as deficiencies in the family justice system, particularly when, as here, their complaints are about the care system. The case also raises important questions about how the court should adapt its practice to the realities of the internet, and in particular social media. ‘
Held: Munby J summarised the principles governing the publication of information relating to family proceedings, which principles apply to both to the question of publication of a judgment and the determination of the application for a reporting restriction order: ‘What may be called the ‘automatic restraints’ on the publication of information relating to proceedings under the Children Act 1989 are to be found in s 97 of that Act and s 12 of the Administration of Justice Act 1960. Section 97 prohibits the publication of ‘material which is intended, or likely, to identify’ the child. But this prohibition comes to an end once the proceedings have been concluded . . Section 12 does not protect the identity of anyone involved in the proceedings, not even the child . . just as in the case of experts, there is no statutory protection for the identity of either a local authority or its social workers.
The court has power both to relax and to add to the ‘automatic restraints’. In exercising this jurisdiction the court must conduct the ‘balancing exercise’ described in Re S (Identification: Restrictions on Publication)  UKHL 47 . . This necessitates what Lord Steyn . . called ‘an intense focus on the comparative importance of the specific rights being claimed in the individual case’. There are, typically, a number of competing interests engaged, protected by Arts 6, 8 and 10 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950 (the European Convention). . . it is ‘necessary to measure the nature of the impact . . on the child’ of what is in prospect. Indeed, the interests of the child, although not paramount, must be a primary consideration, that is, they must be considered first though they can, of course, be outweighed by the cumulative effect of other considerations . .’
Sir James Munby P
 EWHC 2694 (Fam),  1 FLR 523
Administration of Justice Act 1960 12, Children Act 1989 97, European Convention on Human Rights 6 8 10
England and Wales
Cited – Attorney 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 . .
Cited – H 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 . .
Cited – Re 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 . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 06 April 2021; Ref: scu.515544