New family court decision limits reporting restriction orders

BVWire–UKIssue #44-1
November 1, 2022

Should financial remedy analyses be routinely anonymised when business assets are valued? A new family court judgement, Gallagher v. Gallagher (No.2) (Financial Remedies) [2022] EWFC 53, says no.

In this matter, the husband applied for a reporting restriction order (RRO) on five grounds, including the fact that a significant proportion of the final hearing focused on the valuation of a construction business in which he was a joint and equal shareholder. It was argued that dissemination of this information would also harm third parties including his business partner, could expose him to HMRC actions, and would unfairly prejudice the court.

The family court concluded these proceedings did not fall within s.12 of the Administration of Justice Act 1960, which are heard in private under FPR 27.10, saying that the intent was to provide partial privacy at the hearing only—which does not necessarily offer confidentiality for financial remedies. “In my judgement the mantra ‘we have always done it this way’ cannot act to create a mantle of inviolable secrecy over financial remedy proceedings which the law, as properly understood, does not otherwise recognise,” the family court ruled.

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