A Local Authority v News Group Newspapers Ltd

Reference: [2011] EWHC 1764 (Fam)

Court: High Court (Family Division)

Judge: Baker J

Date of judgment: 8 Jul 2011

Summary: Contra mundum order – report of arrest – vulnerable persons - Article 8 - Article 10

Appearances: Adam Wolanski QC (Respondent) 

Instructing Solicitors: In house legal department, News Group Newspapers Ltd, MGN Limited, Newsquest Ltd

Facts

The arrest of a mother in connection with the death of two of her children at home was reported in the local and national media. The local authority obtained an order anonymising the surviving sibling. The mother, who was in a highly vulnerable state and had not been charged with any criminal offence, then applied to extend that order so that she too would be anonymised in further reports of the matter.

Issue

Should the mother be anonymised

Held

The mother should not be anonymised. Although she was in a highly vulnerable state, and her article 8 rights were engaged, there was a strong public interest in the unanonymised reporting of arrests. The grandmother, who may be a prospective carer of the child, should however be anonymised since otherwise the child’s future care may be disrupted.

Comment

The judge underlined in emphatic terms the public interest in the reporting of crime.

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