CARE PROCEEDINGS/PUBLICITY: Re B; X Council v B [2008] EWHC 270 (Fam)

27 MAR 2008

(Family Division; Munby J; 5 March 2008)

The care proceedings had been reported, on the basis of strict anonymity, as X Council v B (Emergency Protection Orders) [2005] 1 FLR 341. Subsequently, in Re B; X Council v B [2007] EWHC 1622 (Fam), the judge authorised identification of the local authority involved. Having received letters from two of the children involved, and e-mails from the mother, the judge proceeded on the basis that he was being asked for permission to identify the family publicly as the family involved in the relevant care proceedings. The judge was prepared to amend the standard rubric to allow the three family members to identify themselves directly with the anonymised judgment, influenced by the fact that there was no ongoing state involvement with the family, and by the fact that the eldest child, at almost 16, was of an age at which he was entitled to speak of his own experiences. The application had not concerned the local authority, so the authority had not been consulted. Two other children had made no application, and were not covered by the order. No professionals were to be named. The judge observed that once anonymity had been waived by individual members of the family, those individuals would be unable to control the media's use of information in the public domain, including all the matters in the original judgment, which contained references to a number of private and personal matters.

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