In a judgment handed down on 31st March, the Court of Appeal confirmed that the High Court has the power to grant reporting restriction orders to protect the identities of clinicians and others involved in end-of-life cases.
Protection may be given where there are concerns about online and other intrusion/harassment resulting from their identities being in the public domain. The juridical basis for the injunctions would be protection for their Article 8 rights to respect for private and family life. The court has emphasised that the power to grant such injunctions may be exercised “to protect the integrity of the proceedings themselves and those involved in, affected by or connected with the proceedings”.
The appeals were brought by the parents in two concluded end-of-life cases in which such orders had been made in the Family Division. Whilst confirming that the orders had been properly made at the time of the proceedings, the Court of Appeal discharged the orders in their cases in light of the passage of time since they were first made and their wish to discuss the cases publicly, identifying the clinicians involved, some years later.
Gavin Millar KC acted for Newcastle-upon-Tyne and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and was instructed by Sintons Law and Hill Dickinson Solicitors.