Venables and Thompson v News Group Newspapers and others: QBD 8 Jan 2001

Where it was necessary to protect life, an order could be made to protect the privacy of individuals, by disallowing publication of any material which might identify them. Two youths had been convicted of a notorious murder when they were ten, and now faced release into a world which remained severely hostile. The law of confidence could be used to protect those rights. A balance always has to be found between the right to freedom of expression and other rights. The President granted injunctions against the whole world restraining the disclosure of any information that might lead to the identification of the murderers of James Bulger after their release from prison. The President held that, taking into account the Convention, the law of confidence could extend to cover the injunctions sought. Disclosure of the information in question might lead to grave, and possibly fatal, consequences for the claimants. This factor not merely rendered the information confidential, but outweighed the freedom of expression that would otherwise have underpinned the right of the press to publish the information. Orders were accordingly made providing for the disallowing of any materials which might lead to their identification.

Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss P
Gazette 22-Mar-2001, Times 16-Jan-2001, [2001] EWHC QB 32, [2001] Fam 430, [2001] 1 All ER 908
Human Rights Act 1998
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedX, A Woman Formerly Known As Mary Bell v Stephen O’Brien, News Group Newspapers Ltd MGN Ltd QBD 21-May-2003
An injunction effective against the world, was granted to restrain any act to identify the claimant in the media, including the Internet. She had been convicted of murder when a child, and had since had a child herself. An order had been granted . .
CitedDouglas and others v Hello! Ltd and others (No 3) CA 18-May-2005
The principal claimants sold the rights to take photographs of their wedding to a co-claimant magazine (OK). Persons acting on behalf of the defendants took unauthorised photographs which the defendants published. The claimants had retained joint . .
CitedA Local Authority v W L W T and R; In re W (Children) (Identification: Restrictions on Publication) FD 14-Jul-2005
An application was made by a local authority to restrict publication of the name of a defendant in criminal proceedings in order to protect children in their care. The mother was accused of having assaulted the second respondent by knowingly . .
CitedAxon, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Health and Another Admn 23-Jan-2006
A mother sought to challenge guidelines issued by the respondent which would allow doctors to protect the confidentiality of women under 16 who came to them for assistance even though the sexual activities they might engage in would be unlawful.
CitedX and Y v Persons Unknown QBD 8-Nov-2006
The claimants sought an injunction against unknown persons who were said to have divulged confidential matters to newspapers. The order had been served on newspapers who now complained that the order was too uncertain to allow them to know how to . .
CitedCTB v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another (1) QBD 16-May-2011
A leading footballer had obtained an injunction restraining the defendants from publishing his identity and allegations of sexual misconduct. The claimant said that she had demanded money not to go public.
Held: It had not been suggested that . .
CitedIn re A (A Minor) FD 8-Jul-2011
An application was made in care proceedings for an order restricting publication of information about the family after the deaths of two siblings of the child subject to the application. The Sun and a local newspaper had already published stories . .
EnforcedJones, Re (Alleged Contempt of Court) FD 21-Aug-2013
The Solicitor General sought the committal of the respondent for alleged contempt of court. There had been repeated litigation between the respondent and her former husband as to whether the children should live in Spain with the father or in Wales . .
EnforcedVenables and Thompson v News Group International, Associated Newspapers Ltd, MGN Ltd QBD 4-Dec-2001
An order had been made requiring all newspapers not to publish anything which might lead to the identification of the claimants or their whereabouts. The defendant newspaper published information as to their last known whereabouts. They argued that . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Human Rights, Family, Media

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.90145