April 15, 2019
Parties named in abduction ruling
High Court judgment permits identification in reports of Children Act proceedings
The Mother and Maternal Grandfather of two girls who have been unlawfully retained in the Ukraine in breach of Court orders have been identified with the permission of a decision of Mr Justice Mostyn.
Orders of this kind, which lift the automatic reporting restrictions which protect the identities of parties to proceedings in the Family Court under the Children Act 1989 are typically made in so-called “hot pursuit” cases, in an effort to locate missing children. But this decision appears to be the first time that automatic reporting restrictions have been lifted in circumstances where the children’s whereabouts is known to the Court.
The Judge’s ruling was made on an application by the girls’ father, in which he argued that the lifting of the secrecy surrounding their identities might coerce the mother, Ganna Tigipko, and the Maternal Grandfather, Sergiy Tigipko, the former Vice-Prime Minister of Ukraine, to return them to London.
The application was supported by the BBC and the publishers of The Times and the Daily Mail. The Judge held that there was a strong public interest in more press reporting of what he called “the scourge of international child abduction”.
Although Mr Justice Mostyn’s judgment permitting identification was handed down on 25 January 2019, its reporting was embargoed until 15 April 2019 in order to allow the Mother and Maternal Grandfather opportunities to appeal.