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Sir Mark rules celebrities are not an exception in family courts

Date:16 JUL 2009

Cases in the family courts which involve the children of celebrities should be treated no differently as those involving anyone else's children, Sir Mark Potter, President of the Family Division of the High Court ruled yesterday.

The case surrounded a high-profile man and his former partner involved in legal proceedings concerning their children applying to the High Court to exempt celebrities from new rules opening the family courts to the media.

In his judgment, Sir Mark ruled that only the interests of the child, not those of the parents, should be considered in such an application.

However, he said that press interest would be greater in the cases of children of celebrities, with a correspondingly greater need to protect the child.

The case is being strongly contested by a coalition of media organisations, who were granted access to the hearing.

The case is the first in which the Family Division had to consider the new system of media access in the family courts and the rule allowing the exclusion of journalists from all or parts of hearings in certain circumstances.

To download a copy of the judgment, click here.