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A (Respondent) v British Broadcasting Corporation (Appellant) (Scotland)
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1 User Commentary

Melanie Davidson (In-house lawyer) 24 September 2015

Case Digest

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In what circumstances can the principle of open justice be departed from?

Lord Reed (with whom the other Justices agreed) handed down judgment in the matter of A (Respondent) v British Broadcasting Corporation (Appellant), [2014] UKSC 25. The appellant broadcaster sought to challenge the decision of the Court of Session below to grant the respondent an anonymity order in respect of an application for judicial review. The respondent had been convicted of serious sexual offences and had been challenging an attempt to have him deported under the grounds of arts 2, 3 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”).

Lord Reed considered the appeal raised an important point in relation to the concept of open justice. This was a hugely important common law principle, and the courts were tasked with an inherent jurisdiction to determine how best to apply the principle. Generally, the common law principle co-existed alongside the rights available under the ECHR, and the courts would seek to ensure the protection of rights under both. 

In this case, the Court of Session had correctly determined that notwithstanding art 10 of the ECHR, the respondent’s art 3 rights required the grant of an anonymity order. Further, the deportation proceedings would be adversely affected if the grant was not made. The appellant’s art 10 rights were protected in the matter by the ability to challenge the grant of an order before the courts. The appeal would therefore be dismissed.


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