Regina v Local Authority and Police Authority in the Midlands ex parte LM: 2000

The applicant owned a bus company whose contract with the local education authority for the provision of school bus services was terminated after the disclosure by the police and the social services department of a past investigation into an allegation of indecent assault on the applicant’s daughter and of an earlier allegation of abuse when he had been employed by social services. The applicant had no criminal convictions and had never been cautioned or bound over. The defendant argued ‘that the requirement for a ‘pressing need’ was not in point because the disclosure of the allegations ‘would not interfere with [the applicant’s] private life at all’.
Held: The court identified three factors to be considered: ‘(i) Its [viz. the discloser’s] own belief as to the truth of the allegation. The greater the conviction that the allegation is true, the more pressing the need for disclosure . .
(ii) The interest of the third party in obtaining the information. The more intense the legitimacy of the interest in the third party in having the information, the more pressing the need to disclose is likely to be . .
(iii) The degree of risk posed by the person if disclosure is not made . .’
and ‘The disclosure, if made, would obviously interfere with his right to a private life . . Disclosure of allegations of child sex abuse is on the face of it a substantial interference with a person’s right to a private life.’
and ‘In my view, the guiding principles for the exercise of the power to disclose in the present case are those enunciated in [AB]. Each of the respondent authorities had to consider the case on its own facts. A blanket approach was impermissible. Having regard to the sensitivity of the issues raised by the allegations of sexual impropriety made against LM, disclosure should only be made if there is a ‘pressing need’. Disclosure should be the exception, and not the rule. That is because the consequences of disclosure of such information for the subject of the allegations can be very damaging indeed.’


Dyson J


[2000] 1 FCR 736, [2000] 1 FLR 612


Employment Rights Act 1996 111


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedRegina (X) v Chief Constable of West Midlands Police CA 30-Jul-2004
The claimant had been accused of offences, but the prosecution had been discontinued when the child victims had failed to identify him. The police had nevertheless notified potential employers and he had been unable to obtain work as a social . .
CitedL, Regina (on the Application of) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis Admn 19-Mar-2006
The court considered the duties on the respondent in providing an enhanced criminal record certificate. In one case, the claimant had brought up her son who was made subject to child protection procedures for neglect. Her job involved supervising . .
CitedDr D, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Health CA 19-Jul-2006
The doctor complained of the use of Alert letters where he was suspected of sexual abuse of patients, but the allegations were unsubstantiated. He complained particularly that he had been acquitted in a criminal court and then also by the . .
CitedL, Regina (on the Application of) v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis and Another CA 1-Mar-2007
The court considered the proper content of an enhanced criminal record certificate. The claimant said that it should contain only matter relating to actual or potential criminal activity.
Held: As to the meaning of section 115: ‘if Parliament . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Police, Human Rights

Updated: 21 July 2022; Ref: scu.242941