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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

01 JUN 2005

PUBLICITY/ADULT: E (By Her Litigation Friend the Official Solicitor) v Channel Four; News International Ltd and St Helens Borough Council [2005] EWHC 1144 (Fam)

(Family Division; Munby J; 1 June 2005) [2005] 2 FLR 913

Pamela, aged 32, had a learning disability and suffered from dissociative identity disorder (DID), a condition that manifested in different personalities. A documentary film maker for Channel Four was approached and after consultations with Pamela, psychiatric experts and carers, he began filming her. The Sunday Times indicated an intention to publish an article on Pamela. The Official Solicitor, joined by St Helens Borough Council sought an interim injunction to prevent broadcast of the film and publication of the story asserting that Pamela lacked capacity to consent to what was proposed. They sought to invoke the inherent jurisdiction of the court. The High Court refused to make an interim injunction. The Official Solicitor had failed to satisfy the court that he was likely to establish, at trial, that Pamela lacked capacity to consent to the broadcast of the film. While two experts had assessed Pamela with respect to capacity, they had not seen her for some time and had not observed her reaction to the film. There was a sizeable body of evidence suggesting that she had capacity to decide whether the film should be broadcast. Even if the Official Solicitor had satisfied the court as to Pamela's lack of capacity he failed wholly to satisfy the court that at trial he was likely to establish that it was in her best interests that the film not be broadcast.

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