- Court of Appeal denies journalist’s request for extensive access to court papers (Newman v Southampton City Council)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
Information Law analysis: The Court of Appeal affirmed the decision of Mrs Justice Roberts’ in the High Court (Family Division) to refuse the investigative journalist, Melanie Newman, access to court papers relating to care and adoption proceedings. Ms Newman had sought wide-ranging access to court papers, including medical reports and social care documents, for the purposes of her investigations into the case of ‘M’, an eight year old girl who had been removed from her mother’s care at the age of two by the respondent local authority. Against the backdrop of the open justice principal, the Court of Appeal reviewed Roberts J’s balancing of the child’s privacy rights against the journalist’s rights of freedom of expression, and ruled in favour of the child’s privacy rights, finding that there was no basis to interfere with Roberts J’s approach to the ‘targeted and fact-specific’ balancing exercise she had carried out at first instance. Written by Andrew Willan, senior associate in the Dispute Resolution department of Payne Hicks Beach.
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