Regina v Legal Aid Board ex parte Kaim Todner (a Firm of Solicitors): CA 10 Jun 1998

Limitation on Making of Anonymity Orders

A firm of solicitors sought an order for anonymity in their proceedings against the LAB, saying that being named would damage their interests irrespective of the outcome.
Held: The legal professions have no special part in the law as a party to entitle a court to allow a solicitors firm anonymity in a challenge to a withdrawal of a Legal Aid Franchise. Greater publicity had already been created for the firm by their application. It was vital to protect the part played by the media in maintaining respect for the system of justice: ‘The need to be vigilant arises from the natural tendency for the general principle to be eroded and for exceptions to grow by accretion as the exceptions are applied by analogy to existing cases. This is the reason it is so important not to forget why proceedings are required to be subjected to the full glare of a public hearing. It is necessary because the public nature of the proceedings deters inappropriate behaviour on the part of the court. It also maintains the public’s confidence in the administration of justice. It enables the public to know that justice is being administered impartially. It can result in evidence becoming available which would not become available if the proceedings were conducted behind closed doors or with one or more of the parties’ or witnesses’ identity concealed. It makes uninformed and inaccurate comment about the proceedings less likely. If secrecy is restricted to those situations where justice would be frustrated if the cloak of anonymity is not provided, this reduces the risk of the sanction of contempt having to be invoked, with the expense and the interference with the administration of justice which this can involve.
Any interference with the public nature of court proceedings is therefore to be avoided unless justice requires it. However Parliament has recognised there are situations where interference is necessary.’ and
‘It is not unreasonable to regard the person who initiates the proceedings as having accepted the normal incidence of the public nature of court proceedings. In general, however, parties and witnesses have to accept the embarrassment and damage to their reputation and the possible consequential loss which can be inherent in being involved in litigation. The protection to which they are entitled is normally provided by a judgment delivered in public which will refute unfounded allegations. Any other approach would result in wholly unacceptable inroads on the general rule.’
The firm of solicitors had been notified by the legal aid board of their intention to institute a criminal investigation of their practice. The firm sought a judicial review of the decision, and now appealed an order not to grant them anonymity.
Held: Any interference with the public nature of court proceedings is to be avoided unless justice requires it. It cannot be reasonable for the legal profession to seek preferential treatment over other litigants. This was not a situation in which the identity of the firm could be protected. The appeal was dismissed.

Lord Woolf of Barnes MR, Lord Justice Auld and Lord Justice Buxton
Times 15-Jun-1998, Gazette 01-Jul-1998, [1998] EWCA Civ 958, [1999] QB 966, [1998] 3 All ER 541, [1998] 3 WLR 925
Administration of Justice Act 1960 12
England and Wales
Leave grantedRegina v Legal Aid Board ex parte T, a Firm of Solicitors Admn 25-Jun-1997
Application for judicial review of decision of Legal Aid board – granted. . .
Appeal fromRegina v Legal Aid Board ex parte T, a Firm of Solicitors Admn 25-Jun-1997
The firm of solicitors making an application for judicial review of the decision of the Board to institute criminal proceedings against them sought anonymity, saying that procedure which might prove them innocent would nevertheless damage their . .
CitedScott v Scott HL 5-May-1913
Presumption in Favour of Open Proceedings
There had been an unauthorised dissemination by the petitioner to third parties of the official shorthand writer’s notes of a nullity suit which had been heard in camera. An application was made for a committal for contempt.
Held: The House . .
CitedAttorney-General v Leveller Magazine Ltd HL 1-Feb-1979
The appellants were magazines and journalists who published, after committal proceedings, the name of a witness, a member of the security services, who had been referred to as Colonel B during the hearing. An order had been made for his name not to . .
CitedRegina v Westminster City Council Ex Parte Castelli QBD 14-Aug-1995
An applicant, who was HIV positive, wished his identity to be concealed.
Held: Some publicity had already occurred A Contempt of Court anonymity order was not to be used to protect a litigant’s privacy. . .
CitedRe A Barrister (Wasted Costs Order); Re A (No 1 of 1991) CA 1992
The section provided that the Court could order a legal practitioner to pay ‘wasted costs’, which were defined as costs incurred by a party ‘as a result of any improper, unreasonable or negligent act or omission on the part of any representative’. . .
CitedRegina v Horsham Justices ex parte Farquharson CA 1982
The Court was asked whether the justices had had power under section 4(2) to impose reporting restrictions on committal proceedings pending the trial to which they related..
Held: They had. A premature publication in contravention of a . .
CitedRegina v The Evesham Justices ex parte McDonagh 1988
There had been a proceeding before Magistrates Court for a minor traffic offence. The defendant was a member of Parliament. He sought not to have his address made public. Since his divorce from his wife he had been subjected to harassment. He had . .
CitedRegina v The Dover Justices ex parte Dover District Council QBD 1991
Magistrates could not restrict and prevent reporting of elements of a court case where publicity might result in financial damage or damage to reputation or goodwill of a defendant. Such circumstances were not special ones to allow this. . .
CitedActon v Graham Pearce and Co 1997
The plaintiff had been convicted on criminal charges but then acquitted on Appeal. He complained that the defendant solicitors had conducted his defence at trial negligently, failing to take steps which reasonably competent solicitors would have . .
CitedTaylor and Others v Director of The Serious Fraud Office and Others HL 29-Oct-1998
The defendant had requested the Isle of Man authorities to investigate the part if any taken by the plaintiff in a major fraud. No charges were brought against the plaintiff, but the documents showing suspicion came to be disclosed in the later . .
CitedHolden and Co (A firm) v Crown Prosecution Service 1990
It is part of the deterrent of the wasted costs procedure that solicitors are named and the adverse publicity is therefore an important deterrent to impropriety. . .
CitedEx Parte P CA 31-Mar-1998
Where statutory alternative of redress available through ministers discretion, that should be used rather than judicial review: ‘When both sides agreed that information should be kept from the public that was when the court had to be most vigilant.’ . .

Cited by:
Full appealRegina v Legal Aid Board ex parte T, a Firm of Solicitors Admn 25-Jun-1997
Application for judicial review of decision of Legal Aid board – granted. . .
CitedAziz v Aziz and others CA 11-Jul-2007
The claimant sought return of recordings and of money paid to the defendant through an alleged fraud or threats. She was the former wife of the Sultan of Brunei and head of state, who now sought an order requiring the court to protect his identity . .
CitedLM, Re (Reporting Restrictions; Coroner’s Inquest) FD 1-Aug-2007
A child had died. In earlier civil proceedings, the court had laid responsibility with the mother. Restrictions had been placed on the information which would effectively prevent the coroner conducting his inquest. The coroner sought a lifting of . .
CitedTimes Newspapers Ltd v Secretary of State for the Home Department and AY Admn 17-Oct-2008
The newspaper applied to challenge the protection of the identity of the defendant subject to a control order under the 2005 Act. It said that there was no basis for the making of the order without first considering the Human Rights need for open . .
CitedJIH v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 5-Nov-2010
The court was asked as to the circumstances under which the identity of a claimant should be protected in an action where he sought to restrain the publication of private information about him.
Held: Tugendhat J accepted the proposition . .
CitedA, Regina (on The Application of) v Lowestoft Magistrates’ Court Admn 26-Mar-2013
A had pleaded guilty to a charge of being drunk in a public place, while having the charge of a child under the age of 7 years, contrary to section 2(1) of the Licensing Act 1902. The child in question was A’s daughter, to whom I shall refer as B. B . .
CitedABC Ltd v Y ChD 6-Dec-2010
There had been proceedings as to the misuse of confidential information. X, a non-party, now sought disclosure of papers used in that case. The case had been settled by means of a Tomlin Schedule, and that, subject to further order, non-parties . .
CitedMX v Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust and Others CA 17-Feb-2015
Application was made for approval of a compromise of a claim for damages for personal injury for the child. The court now considered whether an order should be made to protect the identity of the six year old claimant.
Held: An order should . .
CitedH 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 . .
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 . .
CitedXXX v Camden London Borough Council CA 11-Nov-2020
Anonymity in Court Proceedings – No two stage test
XXX appealed against the refusal to make orders anonymising her name and redacting certain details from published judgments. The appeal raised a point about the proper approach to applications for anonymisation under CPR 39.2. She brought . .
CitedImam, Regina (on The Application of) v The London Borough of Croydon (Anonymity request) Admn 26-Mar-2021
Anonymity Not Necessary under CPR 3.92.
Judgment on the Claimant’s application for an order under CPR 39.2(4) that her name be anonymised in these proceedings by the use of a cipher and that restrictions should be imposed on the reporting of her identity. She said that publication of her . .

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Legal Professions, Litigation Practice

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.144437