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Press blocked from naming infant in Court of Protection proceedings

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Newspapers have been prevented from identifying a baby who was at the centre of a high-profile legal battle in the Court of Protection.

The child’s parents had objected to an order by Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust to stop life-support treatment for their son.

The infant, who was just three and a half months old at the time of the hearing, had severe disabilities and had been placed on a ventilator within 20 minutes of being born.

Last month, a Judge ruled that the life-support treatment could be withdrawn and the little boy died a day later.

In a profoundly moving case, the baby’s young mum had wept as Mr Justice Hayden had ruled in favour of hospital bosses.

At the time, the Judge had put an order in place to prevent journalists from naming either the infant or clinicians involved in the case while the little boy was still alive.

Now another Judge, Mr Justice Newton, has agreed to a request from the hospital that the anonymity orders should remain in place for at least another 12 months.

His decision follows a similar Court of Protection case earlier this year, in which the media was prevented from naming a middle-aged woman who had died after winning the right to refuse life-saving kidney treatment.

Newspapers have objected to the rulings on the grounds that they interfere with freedom of expression, but the Judges argue that it would be unfair to expose bereaved relatives to the added trauma of widespread press coverage.

At Lester Morrill, our specialist Court of Protection solicitors are experienced in working with vulnerable individuals and their families, friends and care teams to ensure the best possible outcome. We currently manage cases involving private clients, solicitors, local authorities, referrals from the court and case managers. We also advise on matters relating to health and welfare, receiving referrals from family members and advocates. Please contact our team for further information.