A story under this headline appeared on the Your Local Guardian site on 8 August : Former MP John Hemming urges appeals court to look in to case of teenager related to public figure. It suggests that ex-MP John Hemming is going to be launching an appeal to the Court of Appeal against Mr Justice MacDonald’s reporting restriction order that prevents the naming of a young man, who was the subject of care proceedings and section before absconding to Zimbabwe with his mother. Proceedings have now concluded, but a reporting restriction order remains in place. It doesn’t prevent the story being told but it does prohibit identification of the young man in question, and the identification of his famous relative.

You can read the full judgment here : London Borough of Sutton v MH (No 2) [2016] EWHC 1371 (Fam) (10 June 2016). It sets out a complicated background of a vulnerable young man and the actions of his mother during the proceedings. Mr Hemming was initially involved as a supporter of the mother, but now appears to be acting in some capacity for the young man. Other judgments from the case are here : NH (1996 Child Protection Convention: Habitual Residence), Re [2015] EWHC 2299 (Fam) (30 July 2015) and here : London Borough of Sutton v MH (No 1) [2016] EWHC 1375 (Fam) (22 March 2016).

Mr Hemming has a history of acting as McKenzie friend for vulnerable adults in care or court of protection proceedings. See for example RP v Nottingham City Council & Anor [2008] EWCA Civ 462 (08 May 2008).

From the judgments in MH it is unclear what benefit to MH himself there would be in his name being made publicly available or where the public interest in his being related to a famous person lies given there is no connection between the issues in the case and the relation in question – it appears that this may be a case where the identity of the celebrity relative may be of interest to the public (although frankly, it doesn’t sound that interesting to us!) but that it may not be of public interest (contrast for example a case where such a celebrity were said to be a parent of such a child or to have harmed such a child or otherwise to be connected to the factual matrix of the case – perhaps as a witness of an important event). There are clearly matters of public interest in the case that justify the broader reporting of this case, but those are not restricted at all (things like the jurisdictional and diplomatic issues, the difficulties of dealing with vulnerable / mentally unwell but possibly capacitous young adults, the operation of the Family Courts etc). The reporting restriction order is set out in full at the foot of Mr Justice Macdonald’s June judgment.