The children of celebrities have the same right to anonymity in court proceedings as any other children, following a ruling of the High Court.
The press have only been allowed into the family courts since April 2009 and can be excluded by the court when matters sensitive to a child are involved. However, the level of press interest is not by any means the same in all cases and the court recently had to decide whether or not to exclude the press when faced with a ‘media circus’ surrounding the child of a celebrity couple.
Sir Mark Potter, president of the family division, stated that ‘in considering whether to exclude the press …. the focus is on the interests of the child …’ and that courts should ‘have regard to the nature and sensitivities of the evidence’. Judges should ask themselves whether the press interest represents public curiosity or legitimate public interest.
In the case in point, reporting the evidence given during the proceedings would be distressing to the child and the interest of the press only arose because of the celebrity of the parents.
It will come as a relief to many parents that at what is normally a distressing time for all, the courts will act to protect children where media intrusion would be against their best interests.