December 19th, 2014 by James Goudie KC

In Birmingham City Council v Riaz and others [2014] EWHC 4247 (Fam) the applicant Council applied for, and obtained Injunctions, under the Court’s inherent jurisdiction, in respect of ten male respondents to prevent child sexual exploitation (“CSE”) by ordering them not to have any further contact or association with a vulnerable girl, or with any female under the age of 18 years, previously unknown to them, in a public place.  The Judge (para 7) described the Council as having taken “a bold and novel step”.  The Judge concluded (para 46) as follows: “I am of the firm view that the use of the inherent jurisdiction to make injunctive orders to prevent CSE strikes at the heart of the parens patriae jurisdiction of the High Court.  I am satisfied that none of the statutory or the “self imposed limits” on the exercise of the jurisdiction prevent the Court from making the orders sought by the local authority in this case”.

The Judge also addressed the issue of a Reporting Restrictions Order (“RRO”), balancing ECHR Arts 8 and 10.  The Judge observed (para 61) that “the mere fact that sections of the press and broadcast media may report the matter sensationally or inappropriately forms no ground for making a RRO”.  He concluded (para 153) that he had no doubt that the balance fell clearly in favour of the Art 10 rights of the press and broadcast media.

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