CARE PROCEEDINGS/EXPERT EVIDENCE: A v Ward [2010] EWHC 16 (Fam)

08 JAN 2010

(Family Division; Munby LJ; 8 January 2010)

This case is the sequel to BBC v Cafcass [2007] EWHC 616 (Fam) [2007] 2 FLR 765 and raised two issues in relation to family law practice and procedure:

i) The first relates to the meaning and effect of section 12(1)(a) of the Administration of Justice Act 1960.

ii) The second relates to the anonymity of professional witnesses in care proceedings under Part IV of the Children Act 1989: specifically, whether three categories of witness - medical experts, treating clinicians and social workers - should have their anonymity protected by contra mundum injunctions.

Care proceeding were brought following the discovery of fractures to a baby's foot. Judge found that the fractures were accidental and criticised one of the experts for his evidence. The parents then sought to disclose the experts' names as part of a media campaign. The experts sought a contra mundum injunction to protect their anonymity.

Held that treating clinicians were not entitled to contra mundum order, but the parents are contractually bound not to put the names of the clinicians into the public domain.

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