Family Law Hub

X v Y (Restraining Abuse of Children's Guardian) [2021] EWHC 2139 (Fam)

Dissatisfied with the outcome of proceedings, the father had posted on social media and displayed on his vehicle derogatory comments about the mother, the Children's Guardian, the social worker and the trial judge. The Children's Guardian applied for injunctive relief. Having balanced the competing rights, MacDonald J was satisfied that it was appropriate to grant an injunction. The Article 8 rights of the child and the Children's Guardian justified the interference in the father's Article 10 rights. Though this was an area where the courts had to tread very carefully, the father named the Children's Guardian in the material published not with the intention of adding to any legitimate discourse, but rather to harass and vilify her. The European Court of Human Rights had made clear that online publication of unevidenced personal attacks in the context of a legitimate public debate might not be protected by Article 10(2). Individuals with a public status, State bodies and persons acting in an official capacity were subject to wider limits of acceptable criticism than private individuals. There did, however, remain limits.

Judgment, published: 04/08/2021

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Published: 04/08/2021

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