Hinduja v Hinduja

Reference: [2022] EWCA Civ 1492

Court: Court of Appeal

Judge: Peter Jackson LJ, Baker LJ, Warby LJ

Date of judgment: 11 Nov 2022

Summary: Open justice – reporting restrictions – Article 8 – Article 10 – Court of Protection

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Appearances: Lily Walker-Parr (Appellant)  Clara Hamer (Intervening Party) 

Instructing Solicitors: Withers LLP (Appellant); Reynolds Porter Chamberlain LLP (Bloomberg LP – Intervenor)


Proceedings had been ongoing in the Court of Protection since June 2020 concerning the health and welfare and property and affairs of Srichand Parmanand Hinduja (‘SP’), an 86-year-old man who suffers from dementia. The proceedings had been brought by SP’s brother, Gopichand Parmanand Hinduja (‘GP’), to challenge the legitimacy of a Lasting Power of Attorney for property and affairs in favour of SP’s daughters (the ‘LPA’). The Hinduja family is one of the wealthiest families in the United Kingdom and has a global business empire operating in many sectors and employing some 200,000 people around the world.

There had been a large number of hearings which had taken place in open court but subject to the Court of Protection’s standard reporting restriction order (‘RRO’) which is ordinarily imposed in Court of Protection proceedings, which prevented SP and the Hinduja family from being identified in reports of the proceedings.

The Official Solicitor (acting as SP’s litigation friend), Bloomberg News, PA Media, and Professor Celia Kitzinger (Open Justice Court of Protection Project) contended that the RRO should be lifted.

GP contended that the RRO should remain in force or, in the alternative, that after SP had died there could be a ‘halfway house’ order, whereby health and welfare information about SP remained subject to a RRO whilst permitting identification of SP and others. SP’s daughters argued that the RRO should remain in force until judgment had been handed down following a subsequent hearing, and that after that the Court ought to take an approach which prevented any identification of the parties in relation to health and welfare issues and in any report which made any reference to SP’s general health and the care provided to him.

On 23 August 2022, the Vice President of the Court of Protection (Hayden J) ordered that the RRO be lifted: [2022] EWCOP 36 but granted a short stay for the reasons given in [2022] EWCOP 37. The Vice President found that the RRO had prevented any meaningful reporting of the proceedings because the family’s public profile and ongoing proceedings in the Chancery Division created a high risk of jigsaw identification. The Vice President held that SP’s needs had been ‘consistently marginalised’ as a result of a wider Hinduja family dispute in which their own litigation interests became their primary objective, and that open reporting of the proceedings was necessary to provide a ‘protective layer’ to him. The Vice President also found that there was a public interest in reporting that the Court of Protection proceedings appeared to have been used as leverage in the Chancery Division proceedings, and that SP’s daughters had disclaimed the LPA after drawing on SP’s assets to fund their own costs of the Court of Protection proceedings, which the judge described as a ‘flagrant conflict of interest’.

GP appealed the decision to lift the RRO. Bloomberg LP was an intervening party at first instance and on the appeal.


Whether the Vice President of the Court of Protection (Hayden J) had been wrong to lift the RRO which had been in place in the proceedings.

Specifically, whether, as the Appellant contended, the Vice President:

  • had erred in considering irrelevant factors and giving inadequate to consideration to relevant factors, namely (a) SP’s attitude to publicity, (b) the extent of information in or likely to come into the public domain, and (c) the likely past and future effect of publicity on SP’s care;
  • had failed to carry out an ‘intense focus’ on the nature of the infringement of SP’s Article 8 rights; or
  • had erred in failing to consider the ‘halfway house’ proposal.


The Court of Appeal held that the Vice President’s core decision to lift the RRO was clearly sustainable, and it rejected the first two grounds of appeal.

However, allowing the appeal on ground 3 to the extent that the reporting of information about SP’s clinical diagnosis, healthcare and daily care, or similar information about his wife (‘the intimate information’), remained prohibited unless the information is contained in a past or future published judgment, and varying the Vice President’s RRO accordingly, the Court of Appeal held that:

  • In respect of grounds 1 and 2, the Vice President had been entitled to reject the continued anonymisation of the Hinduja family, which was perpetuating ‘an effective news blackout’ on the Court of Protection proceedings. The judge had made no general error of approach in attaching significant weight to what he saw as the salutary effect of publicity on SP. The way in which the Hinduja family had conducted itself in response to SP’s predicament, including events concerning the LPA and disputes about care and welfare issues, and the way in which the court acts in proceedings of this kind, were matters of proper public interest.
  • In respect of ground 3, while the Vice President could not be criticised for rejecting the ‘halfway house’ draft order which had been presented to him, the virtually complete removal of reporting restrictions (which, unusually, the Official Solicitor representing SP’s interests had contended for) left intimate details of SP’s medical and personal care unprotected. These were matters in which there was ‘no conceivable public interest’ and could understandably cause distress to SP’s family, and publication of such information would have amounted to a disproportionate breach of SP’s Article 8 rights. Bloomberg and the Press Association had made clear they were not proposing to publish SP’s detailed medical information, but this did not guarantee the approach that may be taken by other journalists here or abroad. The Court of Appeal therefore allowed the appeal on the basis that the Vice President should have retained a ‘narrow level of protection’ for SP in relation to the intimate information, and it was possible to restrict reporting of this information without obstructing other reporting.

The new RRO made by the Court of Appeal is set out at the end of the judgment.


This was an unusual case on its facts and the Court of Appeal noted that these proceedings were unrepresentative of the bulk of the work of the Court of Protection because of the unique public profile of SP and the Hinduja family. However, this judgment is notable as one of the few Court of Appeal decisions to consider the operation of the open justice principles in the Court of Protection.