Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust v Verden and McClennan



Judge: Arbuthnot J

Citation: [2022] EWCOP 4

Summary

This was the ex tempore judgement arising from an application made by Ms McLennan to vary the Reporting Restriction Order made in this case not to name the subject matter of the proceedings (P), her son, William Verden.

William is a 17 year old boy who suffers from steroid resistant nephrotic syndrome. He is in end stage renal failure and needs ongoing dialysis or a transplant to stay alive. William has diagnoses of moderate to severe learning difficulties, autism and ADHD with accompanying behavioural disturbances.

The matter came before the court as a result of a dispute between the Trust and Ms McLennan as to whether it is in William’s best interests to have a kidney transplant. An RRO was made on the papers on 31 December 2021. Neither the Court nor the Official Solicitor knew at the time that order was made that there had been significant media coverage about William and his medical situation in the four to six weeks before the Trust made its application.

Ms McLennan made the application because she wishes to launch a public appeal to find a living kidney donor for William and so wishes to be able to publicise his case to encourage an altruistic donor to step forward.

The Court carried out a balancing exercise between William’s article 8 rights (in circumstances where he was in favour of media coverage and publicity if it means he will get a new kidney), and article 10 rights (in circumstances where there has already been media coverage of William’s ‘story’). The Court held that it was proportionate to accede to the application.

 

Comment

While this decision is perhaps unsurprising given the facts, it is worth noting as a point of practice that the Court now expects those who make applications for RROs in the future to include details of any media coverage that has taken place.

CategoryMedia - Anonymity, Media Date

Keywords


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