Gohil v Gohil and CPS [2023] EWHC 1567 (Fam)27 June 2023

Published: 06/07/2023 16:58


Mostyn J. The case concerned the inexplicable differences that accompany a draft judgment handed down respectively in the King’s Bench Division, the Family Division, and the Crown Court. H was served by the Crown Court with a document titled the ‘Findings Made Following Confiscation Proceedings’. The Crown Court later confirmed that the document constituted a draft judgment, which was complete subject to editorial corrections. The draft judgment did not contain a rubric limiting who could be apprised of its contents. The judge had also not given an express prohibition on any party disseminating the draft judgment, though such prohibition could be inferred. Unfortunately, H had told Mostyn J a number of things concerning the contents of the draft judgment, and therefore could technically be in contempt of court.

Mostyn J considered the procedural rules for rubrics on embargoed judgments in the King’s Bench Division, namely CPR PD 40E, which provides that it is a contempt of court to disclose to any other person or use in the public domain a draft judgment or its substance, and to take action against a draft judgment before it is handed down. There is no equivalent to CPR PD 40E in the Family Division and Family Court or the Crown Court, meaning that a party may be in contempt for disclosing parts of a King’s Bench Division decision, and potentially not in contempt for disclosing a draft of a Family Division judgment; [19]–[21]. The judge concluded that the confusion was completely unacceptable and directed that a copy of the judgment was sent to each Civil Procedure Rule Committee with a request that they seek to harmonise the rules on embargoed draft judgments.

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