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When a book is written about a child in Family Court proceedings

In the recent Full Court decision of Sullivan & Tyler and Anor, the mother sought injunctions and other orders to restrain the author, Ms Banks, from the ongoing publication of an electronic book which concerned life events relating to the Mother and Father’s son, the subject of Family Court proceedings. The Respondents to that application were the Father (Mr Tyler) and the author of the book, Ms Banks.

In this case, the Mother and Father had been engaged in long-running parenting proceedings relating to their son.  The Full Court was required to consider an alleged breach of s 121 of the Family Law Act 1975 which prohibits the publication and dissemination of details of family law proceedings.

Ms Banks had published a book on the life of the child of the Mother and the Father on the internet. After the appeal was instituted, Ms Banks had agreed to take steps to remove the publication, although it had not been completed at the time of the hearing. Ms Banks further told the Court that she was prepared “to give the court a solemn undertaking” that she would not re-publish the book.

The Full Court reviewed and applied the relevant principles relating to s 121 in context on the orders sought by the Mother. The Full Court accepted Ms Banks’s assertions regarding her willingness to have the book removed from those internet sites which she controlled, or was in a position to approach, and in those circumstances they were prepared to accept an undertaking that she would use her best endeavours to remove from the internet the book involving the child, and that she would not in the future publish or cause to be published in any manner (including on the internet) that book.

The Full Court did not make an order that the alleged breach of s 121 to be fully investigated or prosecuted.

By Nicholes Family Lawyers

 

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