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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

07 AUG 2007

PUBLICITY/HUMAN RIGHTS: Murray v Express Newspapers [2007] EWHC 1908 (ChD)

(Chancery Division; Patten J; 7 August 2007)

The parents, one of whom was a famous author, sought, on behalf of their 18-month-old child, an injunction to restrain further publication of a photograph of the child taken without the parents' consent while the family was walking together in the street. The taking of the photograph had caused no distress or harassment at the time. The parents were arguing that they had a right under Art 8 to personal privacy for themselves and their children when engaged in ordinary family activities conducted in public places.

A distinction should be drawn between a person engaged in family and sporting activities and a person merely walking down street. The former type of activity was clearly part of a person's private recreation time intended to be enjoyed in the company of family and friends; publicity of such an activity was intrusive. However, if a simple walk down the street qualified for protection then it was difficult to see what would not. The law did not allow parents wishing to shield children from media attention a press-free zone in respect of absolutely everything they chose to do.

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