Dr Hibbert, the much maligned family court expert whose odd methods of practice at his clinic were noted both by patients and members of staff has lost his two-year battle to publicise a former patient’s medical records.
In his judgment, President of the Family Division Justice Munby sets out the rules on doctor-patient confidentiality and offers a robust summary of policy, common law, human rights law and family law on the matter. It’s a thorough judgment and a must-read.
The reasons for Dr Hibbert’s application for full-scale disclosure of the mother’s records are not lost on Munby either, and he makes short shrift of them. Munby rightly notes that actions which entail a desire to address damage to reputation allegations, Hibbert’s contention as the mother told her story to the press and openly criticised his practice and care of her, must be made in libel, not via the Family Court. And he goes on to detail the odd and winding saga of Dr Hibbert’s requests to publicise sensitive personal documents, a list which gets smaller and less sure of itself as proceedings wear on.
The judgment does a wonderful job of reinforcing the law on patient confidentiality and sends out a warning – the Family Court will not tolerate applications made in vanity, or to vindicate reputation.
(To view the judgment added below, please click on an image and a scrolling menu will appear which will allow you to view the pages in a larger size).