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This Service

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

Notifications may relate to applications in the Family Division of the High Court, the Court of Protection, the Queen’s Bench Division, the Administrative Court, the Chancery Division, and for applications for reporting restrictions or anonymity orders in Coroners’ Courts. Applicants should supply the documentation detailed in the Practice Direction and Practice Note.

In relation to the Family Division and Court of Protection, the service 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 either 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 same courts 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 an intention to apply for an order to exclude journalists from the entirety of proceedings in the family courts – see 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

The President of the Family Division handed down the following Practice Direction on 18 March 2005 which is to be read in conjunction with the Practice Note.

This Practice Direction is reported at [2005] 2 FLR 120.

Applications for Reporting Restriction Orders

  1. This direction applies to any application in the Family Division, including those founded on Convention rights, for an order restricting publication of information about children or incapacitated adults.
  2. Applications to be heard in the High Court

    Orders can only be made in the High Court and are normally dealt with by a Judge of the Family Division. If the need for an order arises in existing proceedings in the county court, judges should either transfer the application to the High Court or consult their Family Division Liaison Judge. Where the matter is urgent, it can be heard by the Urgent Applications Judge of the Family Division (out of hours contact number 020 7947 6000).

  3. Service of Application on the National News Media

    Section 12(2) of the Human Rights Act 1998 means that an injunction restricting the exercise of the right to freedom of expression shall not be granted where the person against whom the application is made is neither present nor represented 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 why the respondent should not be notified.

    Service of applications for reporting restriction orders on the national media can now be effected via the Press Association's CopyDirect service, to which national newspapers and broadcasters subscribe as a means of receiving notice of such applications.

    The court will bear in mind that legal advisers to the media (i) are used to participating in hearings at very short notice where necessary; and (ii) are able to differentiate between information provided for legal purposes and information for editorial use. Service of applications via the CopyDirect service should henceforth be the norm.

    The court retains the power to make without notice orders, but such cases will be exceptional, and an order will always give persons affected liberty to apply to vary or discharge it at short notice.

  4. Further Guidance

    The Practice Note (Official Solicitor: Deputy Director of Legal Services: CAFCASS: Applications For Reporting Restriction Orders) 18 March 2005 and issued jointly by the Official Solicitor and the Director of Legal Services, CAFCASS ([2005] 2 FLR 111) provides valuable guidance and should be followed.

  5. Issued with the Concurrence and approval of the Lord Chancellor.

Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss

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