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In Gallagher v Gallagher (No.1) (Reporting Restrictions) [2022] EWFC 52, Mostyn J challenged the assumption that financial remedy case judgments should ordinarily be anonymised. He took the view that anonymity will not be a general rule to litigants in financial remedy cases where their judgments are to be published.

In Gallagher, Mostyn J considered the husband’s application for a reporting restriction order (RRO or also known as an anonymity order) to be a ‘direct derogation’ from the principle of open justice. Upon applying the Re S balancing exercise, the RRO was only justified for the purposes of protecting and preventing the identification of minor children and other specific tax matters of the case.

Litigants should not have an expectation that cases heard ‘in private’ will be anonymised. Mostyn J’s interpretation of FPR 27.10 was that financial remedy hearings heard ‘in private’ may prevent most members of the general public from attending but provide no more than partial privacy at the hearings. If litigants seek anonymity, they will have to make an application on notice and provide specific facts as to why anonymity is necessary in their cases.

 

Post Author: Ivana Chan

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