Court of Appeal Anonymity Case
19 January 2017
On 19.1.17, Matt Waszak, instructed by the Bar Pro Bono Unit, acted for the appellant in an application before the Court of Appeal (Gloster (Vice President), King, Lewison LJJ) to preserve the anonymity of appeal proceedings in an ancillary relief case. Judgment was handed down by the Court on 08.02.17. A copy of the judgment can be read here
The substantive appeal before the Court concerned the terms of a financial remedy order made in the context of divorce proceedings in 2005. The appellant wife alleged that the order had been made following fraudulent misrepresentations by the respondent husband as to the position of his finances.
Anonymity was granted by the Court of Appeal in 2011, in the context of different appeal proceedings. It was preserved in 2014 in the context of another appeal. However, full argument on the issue of anonymity had never been previously heard and the press had never been afforded the opportunity to contest the point. At a previous hearing, at which Emily Wilsdon appeared for the appellant, Macur LJ preserved anonymity on an interim basis, pending full argument on the issue at the permission to appeal/appeal hearing.
Full argument on the issue of anonymity was heard before the Court of Appeal. A number of different media organisations (the Times Newspapers Limited, Associated Newspapers Limited, Telegraph Newspapers Limited, News Group Newspapers Limited, Sky News) sought for anonymity to be lifted. The case formed the subject of prior reporting because of a potential expectation amongst practitioners that the Court of Appeal might resolve two divergent High Court judgments (those of Mostyn J in L v L  EWHC 2621; and that of Holman J in Luckwell v Limata  EWHC 526 (Fam))on the issue of whether appeal ancillary relief proceedings should be anonymous; and because of the possibility that the Court could depart from it usual position in anonymising appeal proceedings in an ancillary case (K v L  EWCA Civ 550).
For reasons that will be provided in a reserved judgment, the Court lifted the anonymity order that was previously made. These proceedings have since been the subject of extensive media coverage, in both national and local media.