High Court ruling has confirmed that family judges do not have an absolute right to gag parents who object to care proceedings.

President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, who handed down the judgment, said that in the interests of open justice courts should balance every child’s right to privacy with people’s right to freedom of expression.

Munby also noted that injunctions preventing the identification of a children’s guardian, council and social workers should only be granted if there were compelling reasons.

The president also made other points in relation to the case involved, which are important for families going through care proceedings in general:

  • Family courts cannot prevent parents, the media and websites from identifying social workers once care proceedings have ended
  • Video footage or photos posted online by parents are allowed as long as the content does not lead to the identification of any children involved in care proceedings
  • In the first instance, reporting restrictions do not apply to councils, social workers and children’s guardians.

Many thanks to Jane Doe for sharing this development with us.

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