Login : Advocate | Client
Home Post Your Case My Account Law College Law Library

Report No. 196

Lord Donaldson in Re C (a Minor) (Wardship: medical treatment): 1989 (2) All ER 782 pointed out as follows:

"What is required in such cases is that the Judge should give judgment in open Court, taking all appropriate measures to preserve the personal privacy of those concerned. Thus, in this judgment, I have quoted extensively from the Professor's advice without, I hope, giving any clue as to his identity or that of C, her parents or the authority involved"

In a subsequent order in the same case reported in Re C (a minor) (Wardship: medical treatment) No.2 (A): 1989 (2) All ER 791, the two newspapers, Daily Mail and Mail Sunday filed applications before the Court of Appeal to review the above judgment. They wanted that the confidentiality directive in the above judgment regarding the identity of patients, parents, doctors, hospital and medical advice be reconsidered and the media be permitted to publish the details.

After an elaborate reconsideration, the Court of Appeal stated that privacy of the patient was important and undue publicity about the medical treatment of the ward could affect the quality of care given to the patient, and that the public interest in ensuring proper quality of care required the Court, in the best interests of the patient, to issue an injunction prohibiting the identification of the patient, his or her parents, the medical information etc., notwithstanding that the patient is not capable of noticing such identification or publicity.

Further, such an injunction would reinforce the duty of confidentiality owed by those caring for her. (Doctors are supposed to maintain privacy so far as their patient's name, address, parents' name, doctor's name, medical treatment etc. are concerned). The injunction against identifying the parents is also justified in order to protect the wardship jurisdiction since parents might refuse to make a child a ward of Court (or an incompetent patient) if they thought that they might be identified and singled out for media attention.

The Court in the above case, prohibited external publication of the names, but it stated that the doctors and hospital or the local authority (which is protecting the ward) must know the real name of the patient so that the Court's orders could be implemented.

In Law Hospital NHS Trust v. Lord Advocate (Scotland) (1996) SLT 848, the Lord President, Lord Hope stated that cases of such patients be heard in chambers without intimation on the notice board, unless public interest requires.

It is proposed to have a provision in the Bill (a) for keeping the identity of the patients, parents, doctors, experts, witnesses, hospital as confidential, in he High Court where the petition will be filed by the patient, parents or doctors and that they will e designated by English alphabets. It is proposed that the High Court should, at the stage of filing of the case, pass an order giving he alphabetical designations and that while referring to the Court orders, no person, law report, or media shall publish the names of the above persons or hospital.

Breach of the order as to confidentiality may be punished under the Contempt of Courts Act. However, it is necessary that, in the orders to be communicated to the above parties, doctors or hospital, the actual name will have to be given because it is necessary that the identity of the patient and others be known to the above persons, doctors and the hospital, so that the order can be implemented. However, such communications should be put in a sealed cover.

It is also proposed (b) that even in cases where the matters do not go to Court none including the media should publish facts which will lead to identification of the patients, parents, relatives, doctors, hospitals, experts etc.

(14) Position under Indian Penal Code & Law of Torts

In the light of the discussion in Chapters I to VI and this Chapter, we now come to the crucial issues of criminal law and law of torts in regard to which, it is necessary to remove certain apprehensions in the minds of patients, doctors, hospitals and others.

We shall first deal with (A) the Criminal Law and then with (B) the Law of Torts.

Medical Treatment to Terminally Ill Patients (Protection of Patients and Medical Practitioners) Back

Client Area | Advocate Area | Blogs | About Us | User Agreement | Privacy Policy | Advertise | Media Coverage | Contact Us | Site Map
powered and driven by neosys