A summary of Appleton v Gallagher  EWHC 2689
9th October 2015
The court granted permission to NGN Ltd to appeal to the Court of Appeal to resolve the “unhappy divergence of judicial approach” to privacy and reporting restrictions in ancillary relief cases.
On 28 September 2015 Mostyn J handed down judgment following his earlier holding order made on 15 September 2015.
On Monday 14 September 2015 Nicole Appleton and Liam Gallagher had presented His Honour Judge O’Dwyer with a joint application, pursuant to FPR 27.11(3), to exclude the press from the ancillary relief hearing upon which they were about to embark at the Central Family Court.
By the time Mostyn J came to hear the matter, the case had been heard by HHJ O’Dwyer, who had reserved judgment. It was heard in private in the presence of members of the press.
Although HHJ O’Dwyer had wondered whether only the High Court could make a reporting restriction, the “clear opinion” of Mostyn J was that the court of trial had that power, because the proceedings were not children proceedings within the terms of FPR 25.2(1) (§ 4).
It was a “serious understatement” … “to say that the law about the ability of the press to report ancillary relief proceedings which they are allowed to observe is a mess” (§6).
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