R v L

Reference: 22/02/2002

Court: Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)

Judge: Kennedy LJ, Grigson & Cooke JJ

Date of judgment: 22 Feb 2002

Summary: Reporting Restrictions - s.4 Contempt of Court 1981 - Appeal of refusal to make an order to the Court of Appeal - s.159 Criminal Justice Act 1988 - Jurisdiction

Instructing Solicitors: Foot Anstey Sargent (Plymouth) for the Grimsby and Scunthorpe Newspapers Ltd


The Defendant applied for a reporting restriction to prevent his identity from being revealed in his trial for buggery, indecent assault and cruelty to children. The trial Judge refused to make such an order. The Defendant then sought leave to appeal his refusal from the Court of Appeal. The Defendant had been refused permission to apply for judicial review. The Defendant sought to argue (1) that the limits on any appeal provided by s.159 did not apply to interlocutory orders; and, in any event (ii) the Court of Appeal should apply s.3 Human Rights Act 1998 so as to interpret s.159 as providing a right of appeal to ensure equality of arms between the defendant and the media.


Whether the Court of Appeal had any jurisdiction to entertain the appeal.


There was no jurisdiction to hear the appeal. s.159 only applied where an order had been made. It was a specific provision designed to ensure that orders made restricting publicity could be challenged by the media. The argument based on equality of arms was rejected. The media was not a party to the proceedings.


The decision is clearly right on its interpretation of s.159 and represents a useful authority to put paid to any appeal from a refusal to make a s.4(2) Order.