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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

22 JUL 2008

Times wins right to report family case

The Times newspaper has won the right to publish details of a family case involving a mother who fled to France with her son after he was placed in foster care.

The newspaper wished to report and comment on care proceedings concerning an 8 year old child currently living somewhere abroad with the mother. The mother had abducted the child from his foster placement, assisted by the child's step-father, the mother's current husband, who is now serving 16 months imprisonment for his part in the abduction.

The newspaper at one stage sought publication of the care proceedings judgments to date, with the aim of informing the public debate concerning the case; however, after the local authority produced a summary of the facts in the proceedings in a form that the newspaper considered sufficient and satisfactory, and with which the other parties were content, the newspaper withdrew that application.

Sir Mark Potter, the President of the Family Division, decided that the level of interest created after Camilla Cavendish of The Times reported the case made a very strong argument for the background of the case to be made more widely known, to enable the public to form its own view. He ruled that provided the child's anonymity was preserved, comment upon the proceedings as set out in the agreed summary would not invade the child's Article 8 rights any more than the publicity to date, nor did the identification of the local authority pose a significant risk to the child.

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