Cooper-Hohn v Hohn  EWHC 2314 (Fam) has created a fuss on issue of media reporting of family cases in England.
Practitioners in open proceeding (open to public) jurisdictions may be wondering that actually what this fuss is all about?
As open justice is an important pillar of legal system in UK so most of the family law proceedings in this country have long been recognised as exception to this rule.
There is special category of cases under family laws that are heard in private. In such cases the disclosure is provided only under compulsion.
Although representatives of accredited media are allowed to attend the remedy hearing but the question is, what they are permitted to report?
Do the media organisations have to ask for permission to
report, related the parties have to apply for an injunction to prevent
This was one of main question that is found by Justice Roberts while determining how parties wealth should be divided, on 10th day final hearing.
The arguments from counsel for media and both parties were placed before the court on what the press should be allowed to publish. Law was found unclear on that.
Although the Family Procedure Rules 2010 does allow accredited members of the media to attend court, but those rules are silent on what they may report .There is no binding decision about whether the '1926 Act' applies to financial remedy cases and also un clarity on law about 'implied undertaking of confidentiality', that whether parties owing 'implied undertaking of confidentiality to each other and to the court should extend to the press.
Proceedings with presence of press in it should be considered ‘public’, is the question that is unanswered.
During the preceding the Judge said that ‘notwithstanding journalists now have rights of access to these private hearings, here been a need, to protect the confidential nature of the financial information disclosed within such hearings.
It was a matter of balancing the couple's rights to privacy (under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights), against the media's Article 10 rights to freedom of expression on the other.
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