Father wins family report ban case

Court of Appeal rules that children may be identified after family cases end

The Court of Appeal today overturned an injunction preventing a father from publicly identifying his child as the subject of a custody battle.


In a significant decision, the Court ruled that section 97 of the Children Act 1989, which prohibits the identification of children as being the subject of Children Act proceedings, ceases to have effect once the proceedings have ended.


The father, who is a campaigner for fathers’ rights, had complained that the injunction prevented him from contributing to the debate about shortcomings in the family court system. The court agreed, and ruled that the judge had given insufficient weight to the father’s Article 10 right to discuss his own custody battle in the media.


Wall LJ said that in future, at the conclusion of family cases involving children, courts would need to assess whether any reporting restriction was necessary in the interests of the child. There could no longer be an automatic assumption that such a restriction was warranted.


The court also made an order preventing the father from taking his child to Portugal to make a film about the case, ruling that this would be contrary to the child’s best interests.


5RB‘s James Price QC and Adam Wolanski (instructed by Lyons Davidson) acted for the father.


Click here for the 5RB case report and full judgment.