Medway Council v BBC

Reference: [2002] 1 FLR 104; [2001] All ER (D) 243 (Oct)

Court: Family Division

Judge: Wilson J

Date of judgment: 11 Sep 2001

Summary: Family - Reporting Restrictions - Injunction - Children

Appearances: Godwin Busuttil (Defendant) 

Instructing Solicitors: BBC - BBC Litigation Department


Medway obtained anti-social behaviour orders under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 in respect of eight children. No reporting restriction had been imposed in relation to the making of those orders and they had been widely reported in the media. The BBC conducted a filmed interview with one of the children, aged 13, and his mother, with the mother’s written consent. Shortly after the interview had taken place, Medway obtained an interim care order in respect of that child. Medway sought leave under the Children Act 1989 to apply for an injunction to restrain the BBC from broadcasting the interview. That application was supported by the child, his mother and his father.


Whether broadcast of the interview should be restrained on the grounds of potential harm to the child. The requirement for a local authority under section 100 Children Act 1989 to obtain leave to invoke the court’s inherent jurisdiction in relation to children.


Application refused. No case for restriction on freedom of expression had been made out by Medway.


Local authority refused leave to invoke inherent jurisdiction to restrain publicity in respect of child the subject of an anti-social behaviour order.