Full case report

Blunkett v Quinn

Reference [2004] EWHC 2816 (Fam)
Court Family Division

Judge Ryder J.

Date of Judgment 3 Dec 2004


Summary

Family law – contact orders – parental responsibility orders – public hearings – Article 6 – Article 8


Facts

KQ appealed against an order refusing her application to adjourn proceedings brought by DB in respect of her 2 year old child. DB had claimed to be the father of the child. DB sought contact and parental responsibility under the Children Act 1989. KQ argued that there would be physical and mental health consequences (she was pregnant), if the order stood. The order had been made on the basis that it was in the child’s interest to have parentage determined at the earliest stage possible. KQ argued there was no detriment in a later resolution of the issue. DB also applied for the judgment to be given in public.


Issue

(in so far as it related to the media) Whether judgment should be given in public


Held

Judgment would be given in public. The ability to correct false impressions and misconceived facts would go further to help secure the Article 6 and 8 rights of all involved than would the court’s silence. Silence in this case would only promote further speculation and adverse comment that would damage both the interests of those involved and the family justice system. itself.


Comment

A striking example of the trend towards openness in the Family Division. The judge stated that his decision was in part based upon his desire to dispel the damaging notion that the Family Division was ‘cloaked in secrecy’.


Instructing Solicitors

Bindman and Partners for KQ; Mischon de Reya for DB