Gallagher v Gallagher (No.1) (Reporting Restrictions) [2022] EWFC 5213 June 2022

Published: 15/06/2022 09:00

Mostyn J.

Application for a reporting restriction order ('RRO'), alternatively an anonymity order. Reference to proceedings 'in private' in FPR 27.10 and 27.11 does not impose secrecy as to the facts of the case. Rather, the correct interpretation of these rules is to prevent most members of the public who are not journalists or bloggers from physically attending.

The judge noted that a derogation from the principle of open justice may only be permitted in circumstances where a focused Re S balancing exercise of the various rights protected by Articles 6, 8 and 10 leads to the conclusion that the privacy right should overreach the principle of open justice. In this case, an RRO was justified and ordered to prevent the naming of the minor children, publication of photographs of them or identification of their schools or where they lived.

Threats of blackmail into settling the case, indirect identification of minor children of the litigating adults, and distress to the parties were not considered good reasons to ordain anonymity generally. An RRO was also made to prevent reporting of material which could expose H to serious jeopardy or unfairness. This included advice regarding the degree of risk H faces from action by HMRC against him, and an opinion from a lawyer regarding his prospects of success in defending other litigation.

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