Richard v BBC: privacy and family law
In Richard v The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) & South Yorks Police  EWHC 1837 (Ch), Mann J reviewed the law on privacy after the investigation of Sir Cliff Richard and allegations of child abuse had been given extensive coverage by the BBC (with no charges later preferred). He explained that in general terms a person, whoever they may be, has an expectation of privacy (and engaging European Convention 1950, Art 8). Their privacy is protected whatever the form of publicity. If the media publish information, in accordance with their freedom of expression (Art 10), the question then arises as to whether there is a public interest in such publication on artistic, journalistic or literary grounds (Human Rights Act 1998, s 12(4)). In Richard the judge said there was no such public interest. Assessment of damages against the BBC and the police (partly completed) follows.
This raises questions for the family lawyer in relation especially to privacy for children; and perhaps for the ‘legal blogger’ – a new concept introduced and defined by a proposed PD37J to enable lawyers to seek permission to attend court to report on family proceedings (mainly, it is assumed, care proceedings). How much will what Mann J says reflect on anyone who wishes to report on court proceedings where there is a risk (jig-saw identification etc) of privacy of a child or the child’s parents (say) being breached?
Top five cases
Re W (A Child)  EWCA Civ 1904 – a note of things to come on setting aside a child abduction order from extensive obiter comments by Moylan LJ.
Akhter v Khan  EWFC 54, Williams J – when is a marriage so it can be declared void?
Re X (A Child : FGMPO)  EWCA Civ 1825 – appeal allowed: direction for rehearing of judge’s order which restricted a child’s travel in female genital mutilation order case.
SWS v Department for Work and Pensions  EWHC 1998 (QB) – no need for a person’s name to be kept anonymous when they want to make a statement on settlement of a privacy claim?
Cape Intermediate Holdings Ltd v Dring (Asbestos Victims Support Group)  EWCA Civ 1795 – findings as to extent of the powers of the court under (1) the CPR 1998, r 5.4C and (2) its inherent jurisdiction to permit access to documents by non-parties.
Family Law Briefing is part of the Bloomsbury Family Law Service. The full briefing is available here.