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England and Wales High Court (Family Division) Decisions
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales High Court (Family Division) Decisions >> Giggs v Giggs  EWHC 822 (Fam) (17 February 2017)
Cite as:  EWHC 822 (Fam)
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Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
| Ryan Giggs
|- and -
The Respondent wife was neither present nor represented, but her solicitors (Hall Brown) submitted a letter to the Court setting out her position.
Brian Farmer (Press Association) and Ben Rossiter (Mirror Group) in attendance, and made oral representations.
Hearing dates: 17 February 2017
Crown Copyright ©
The Honourable Mr Justice Cobb:
i) An application to exclude the press ("the media") from attendance at future hearings of these proceedings ("the exclusion of the media order");
ii) An application for a reporting restriction order ("reporting restriction order") to restrict or prohibit the publication of:
"… any report of this case that refers to or concerns any of the parties' financial information whether of a personal or business nature including, but not limited to, that contained in their disclosure (including any voluntary disclosure), answers to questionnaire provided in solicitors' correspondence, in their witness statements, in their oral evidence or referred to in submissions made on their behalf, whether in writing or orally. For the avoidance of doubt 'financial information' shall include any of the matters referred to in the parties' forms E".
This application was extended at the hearing today to include a request for a prohibition on the reporting of the names of the parties' two children.
i) These parties have rights (albeit qualified) under Article 8 ECHR to respect for their private and family life;
ii) The parties' children also have Article 8 rights which are deserving of protection;
iii) Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right (which may be subject to restrictions) shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority under Article 10;
iv) Where the aforementioned Convention rights arise, I must consider carefully how they interact and/or collide, and exercise judgment on the individual facts of the case. Lord Mance provides a valuable summary in PJS v News Group Newspapers Limited  2 WLR 1253 at  by referring to:
"… authority at the highest level which establishes that even at the interlocutory stage (i) neither Article has preference over the other, (ii) where their values are in conflict, what is necessary is an intense focus on the comparative importance of the rights being claimed in the individual case, (iii) the justifications for interfering with or restricting each right must be taken into account, and (iv) the proportionality test must be applied: see e.g. In re S (A Child) (Identification: Restrictions on Publication)  UKHL 47;  1 AC 593, para 17, per Lord Steyn, with whom all other members of the House agreed; McKennitt v Ash  EWCA Civ 1714;  QB 73, para 47, per Buxton LJ, with whom the other members of the Court agreed; and Mosley v News Group Newspapers Ltd  EWHC 687 (QB), para 28, per Eady J, describing this as a "very well established" methodology.".
Lord Neuberger in JIH v News Group Newspapers Limited  EWCA Civ 42 at [21(5)] earlier expressed the point in this way:
"Where the court is asked to restrain the publication of the names of the parties and/or the subject matter of the claim, on the ground that such restraint is necessary under Article 8, the question is whether there is sufficient general, public interest in publishing a report of the proceedings which identifies a party and/or the normally reportable details to justify any resulting curtailment of his right and his family's right to respect for their private and family life"
v) Specifically, in relation to the children of this couple, their Article 8 rights require careful consideration: see PJS again at [72-74]:
"… not only are the children's interests likely to be affected by a breach of the privacy interests of their parents, but the children have independent privacy interests of their own. They also have a right to respect for their family life with their parents. Secondly, by section 12(4)(b), any court considering whether to grant either an interim or a permanent injunction has to have "particular regard" to "any relevant privacy code". It is not disputed that the IPSO Code, which came into force in January, is a relevant Code for this purpose. This, as Lord Mance has explained, provides that "editors must demonstrate an exceptional public interest to over-ride the normally paramount interests of [children under 16].
This means that, at trial, the court will have to consider carefully the nature and extent of the likely harm to the children's interests which will result in the short, medium and longer terms from the publication of this information about one of their parents. … It is possible that, at trial, the evidence will not support any risk of harm to the children's interests from publication of the story in the English print and broadcasting media. It is possible that the evidence will indicate that the children can be protected from any such risk, by a combination of the efforts of their parents, teachers and others who look after them and some voluntary restraint on the part of the media.
On the other hand, it is also possible that the evidence will support a risk of harm to the children's interests from the invasion of their own and their parents' privacy, a risk from which it will be extremely difficult to protect them."
vi) Financial remedy proceedings are private proceedings not only within the strict definition of the rules (FPR 2010 rule 27.10), but also because they concern and focus on inherently private matters; there is therefore a strong "starting point" (DL v SL  EWHC 2621 (Fam) at ) that they should be conducted in private;
vii) There is a particular reason for offering protection to the parties in relation to the disclosure of personal information in financial remedy proceedings because the disclosure rules (FPR 2010 rule 9.14) require such information to be disclosed to the other party and the court; (Appleton & Gallagher v NGN & PA  EWHC 2689 at ); there is an implied undertaking in cases of this kind that the information provided under compulsion will not be used for other purposes (Clibbery v Allen  EWCA Civ 45);
viii) Exceptions to the general rule apply if information is already in the public domain, or if the facts demonstrate such disgraceful conduct on behalf of one or more of the parties that they forfeit the right to protection (Lykiardopulo v Lykiardopulo  1 FLR 1427, Wyatt v Vince  EWHC 1368 (Fam)).
i) She does not oppose the applications, nor does she actively support them; she disassociates herself from the making of the applications;
ii) She has different concerns about press coverage of the divorce and these proceedings from those articulated by the husband;
iii) She refers to "other ways" of protecting the parties' privacy than by way of court injunctions;
iv) She maintains that the application is "unnecessary".
i) it is appropriate to proceed to deal with the application for financial remedy in private; as earlier indicated, accredited members of the press may, until or unless further order is made, attend such hearings;
ii) it is appropriate to afford the parties the protection of a reporting restriction order in respect of the disclosed financial information (more fully defined at [1(i)]) and of the names of their children.
In short, I do not consider that there is a sufficient public interest (under Article 10) in laying bare for inspection in the press the parties' financial circumstances or the plans for their financial futures; insofar as there is such a public interest in the media having access to that information, it is significantly outweighed by the rights which the parties, and their children, possess to privacy in these circumstances.