Challenging Court Orders
- ALL court orders can be challenged by the media except the orders covering victims of sex offences since they have anonymity for life and the courts have no power to overturn the court order
- All these orders can be used to ban us from reporting elements of cases but the press has the right to challenge these orders.
- If you want to challenge an order you have to write a note to the judge and hand it to the clerk or ask the judge to let you verbally argue your case
- You also have to tell the prosecution (the lawyers/those that want to convict the criminal) and the defence (those defending the defendant) that you want to challenge the order. The court has to tell the media that it wants to put/impose an order and if they haven’t you have to tell the court to give you time to form your argument.
SECTION 4 ORDERS (postpone) = These are made by the court to postpone reporting. They are used to ban us (media/press) from printing one trial when another trial involving the same person is close/about to happen e.g if a defendant has one trial after another then we can’t print the previous one.
SECTION 11 ORDERS (blackmail,Violet) = These orders give anonymity to defendants or victims in cases of blackmail and cases of national security. It bans the name, address and anything about the defendant/victim being published e.g Violet would be given anonymity if she were blackmailed by Doflamingo
SECTION 39 ORDERS (child) = These orders ban the media from reporting the name, address, school or anything else about the child who appears in court as the defendant, victim or witness e.g If Momonosuke appeared in court as the defendant, victim, or witness the media can’t report anything about him
ANONYMITY ORDERS = Victims of sex offences have automatic anonymity for life
All these orders can be used to ban us from reporting elements of cases but the press has the right to challenge these orders
Sometimes the courts make illegal orders and you have to challenge them to allow you to report a case. These include putting section 39 orders on dead children and adults – you are allowed to name the identity if the person is dead
In 2000 in the High Court Lord Bingham said there was nothing to stop magistrates from hearing something (an opinion or whatever they want to say) from someone from the press, and a reporter could ‘save the court from falling into error.’
In the Court of Appeal in 2011, Lord Neuberger said: “Court hearings should take place in public and should be freely reported unless justice cannot be done on that basis in the particular case and in that event, the court should ensure that the restrictions on access and reporting are the minimum necessary to enable justice to be done in that case.”
Even if a reporting restriction is invalid, it must be obeyed unless the court amends or lift them.
Section Four Orders
These are made by the court to postpone reporting. They are used to ban us (media/press) from printing one trial when another trial involving the same person is close/about to happen e.g if a defendant has one trial after another then we can’t print the previous one.
The media can challenge these orders but only if it’s in the public interest
You can argue the gap between the present case and the next is long enough to report the present case, also it could result in more witnesses or victims coming forward in a case.
Section 11 Orders
These orders give anonymity to defendants or victims in cases of blackmail and cases of national security. It bans the name, address and anything about the defendant/victim being published.
A section 11 order can’t be made if the name or the matter has already been mentioned in public proceedings (proceeding is the process of appearing before a court of law so a decision can be made about an argument or claim : a legal action)
You can argue it’s in the public interest to name the defendant e.g if the defendant is a rapist, it’s in the public interest so that people know the person and stay clear of them.
The Judicial College guidance says that banning the press from publishing the defendants address can wrongly identify someone that’s not connected with the case e.g the rapist might be Elisgyba yescroluffy who lives on Scale Lane, but there might be another Elisgyba yescroluffy who lives on Newland Ave who has nothing to do with the rape case.
In 2000 the Grimsby Telegraph published a story on Gary Allen who was charged with murdering a Hull prostitute saying he lived in their patch despite his address being witheld. They were able to do this because the Act states the order only bans publication of things in that are related to or have a connection with the proceedings.
Courts try and use the Section 11 order to protect defendants children but this isn’t allowed.
Section 39 Orders
These orders ban the media from reporting the name, address, school or anything else about the child who appears in court as the defendant, victim or witness.
The order can only be used on a defendant aged under 18. Once the defendant is 18+ the order expires.
We can argue a defendant who is 17 is almost 18 and should be named
If they are given an ASBO (Anti-social behaviour order – a person who shows anti-social behaviour e.g drunkenness and threatening behaviour) we can argue that they should be named in order for the ASBO to work.
If they have committed a violent offence like a robbery or murder you can argue it’s in the public interest so the defendant should be named
You can argue that in the case of a teacher abusing pupils the order could be changed to name a large school so long as the victims aren’t identified.
In cases of child neglect a section 39 order bans you from naming the parents – you can ask the judge to vary it to allow you to name the parents as long as the names of the children aren’t published.
The Judicial College says: Age isn’t enough to put a section 39 order because a very young child can’t be harmed by publicity that they don’t know (a 6 month old child won’t be aware of anything). This involved babies and toddlers under school age
The orders can’t be used on dead children or children who aren’t part of proceedings.
If a child is very young you can argue that a Section 39 order should be lifted because the child is “too young to be affected by publicity”. This helps us in child abuse to be able to name parents.
In cases like robbery and rape, ALWAYS argue and say the young defendant should be named because it’s in public interest.
Check if there are any official investigations going on in a case: this will help lift the orders on the grounds it’s in the public interest e.g if the council is investigating a case where a teacher had an affair with a student or a headteacher has been sacked as a result.
If this doesn’t work, you can ask the judge to consider varying an order so you can name a school or the relationship between the defendant and victim.
You can argue the school is big so the child won’t be identified, since it’s a school with many students. In child cruelty cases it means you can identify a parent as being responsible for hurting a child