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Media Lawyer

WARNING

This service can only be used to notify the subscribing media organisations of your intention to apply to the Family Division for an injunction which will affect their rights under Article 10 by prohibiting or restricting reporting.

It may be used by applicants seeking injunctions or reporting restriction orders in three circumstances:

1: To notify the media of an application for an injunction from the Family Division of the High Court to protect the privacy of a child or patient or restrict publication of information about specified individuals.

2: To notify the media of applications in the Family Division of the High Court for orders giving anonymity to people such as social workers or medical experts and other witnesses when parties to proceedings seek the publication of the judgments. This follows guidance from by Mr Justice Munby in his decision of March 30, 2007 in In the matter of William Ward - BBC v (1) Cafcass Legal, Cambridgeshire County Council, Victoria Ward, Jake Ward, William Ward, acting by his children's guardian Carol Clements, Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridgeshire Constabulary, Doctor A, Doctor B ([2007] EWHC 616 (Fam)).

3: To notify the media of your intention to apply for an order to exclude journalists from the entirety of proceedings in the family courts, following the President's judgment of July 15 2009 in Re X (A Child) (Residence and Contact) ([2009] EWHC 1728 (Fam)).

This service cannot be used to serve injunctions or orders you have already obtained.

Attempts to serve orders via this service will not be accepted as service, and will not be valid. All orders must be served directly on the organisations you wish to be bound by them. Please refer to the Practice Direction and the accompanying Practice Note, which can be found on this website.

Judges will expect applicants to have filled out the checklist for those applying for injunctions before they entertain an application. The Checklist PDF can be downloaded here

On 18 March 2005 The President of the Family Division of the High Court, Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, handed down a Practice Direction setting out new guidance on applications for reporting restriction orders in the Family Division that affect national media organisations. The Practice Direction is to be read in conjunction with the Practice Note issued jointly by the Official Solicitor and the Director of Legal Services, CAFCASS. How the system operates in practice can be found at Notification System.

The Practice Direction is reported at [2005] 2 FLR 120. and the Practice Note is reported at [2005] 2 FLR 111.

The Practice Direction and Practice Note were issued following discussions between the national media and the Official Solicitor and CAFCASS. The Practice Direction and Practice Note have put in place a secure system for the advance notification of applications when an applicant wishes to apply for a reporting restriction order in the Family Division against the media, thereby assisting an applicant to comply with s12(2) of the Human Rights Act 1998 which says that:

"If the person against whom the application for relief is made ("the respondent") is neither present nor represented, no such relief is to be granted unless the court is satisfied:
(a) that the applicant has taken all practicable steps to notify the respondent; or
(b) that there are compelling reasons by the respondent should not be notified."
Standard Order

This site also provides a copy of the standard form of order to be adopted when a reporting restriction order is made in the Family Division. The form has been agreed by the Official Solicitor and CAFCASS.

Explanatory Note

In addition, it is helpful to media organisations if, at the time of putting them on notice of the application, an Explanatory Note is served. This should briefly inform the media what the substantive case concerns.

Media Organisation

Nearly all the national media organisations have agreed to take part in the notification system. A list of those companies subscribing to this system and their contact details are at Media Organisations.

N.B.

1. While notice of applications is to be given to national media organisations via this system, it will still be necessary to serve subsequent orders by fax and/or by post.

2. Appropriate local and regional newspapers and magazines should still be served with application notices in the usual way.

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