(Family Division; Charles J; 27 April 2009)
On the first day in which the family courts were open to the media, the husband requested that the media be excluded from the ancillary relief proceedings. He argued that the presence of the media might inhibit him from giving full and frank evidence, because publication of his financial position, even in an anonymised form, could damage his business.
The judge rejected the husband's application. The issue of what the media could or could not publish was at the heart of the husband's objection, not the attendance of the media at the hearing. There was nothing exceptional about the case by reference to the financial position of the husband, confidential trading information or trade secrets or anything else that would warrant excluding the representatives of the press. While issues might arise in future relating to what could and could not be published in the case, those were future problems. Either the parties or the media, could bring such issues, which would involve competing public and private interest, to the court.