On 19 January 2017 Michael Glaser and Phillip Blatchly successfully represented the husband in the well publicised matter of Norman v Norman [2017] EWCA Civ 49 in an appeal which would have opened financial remedy proceedings dating back to 2005. This was the third time that the case had been to the Court of Appeal and there was a failed attempt, by Mrs Norman, to have it heard by the Supreme Court.

Importantly, Mrs Norman had applied for an anonymity order in respect of her appeal. She contended that her case was not just an exception to the rule in relation to anonymity in appeals of financial remedy cases, but that the rule itself should change. Michael and Phillip represented Mr Norman and the media were separately represented – who argued that the rule for appeals against orders for financial remedies was for openness and urged the Court of Appeal not to change that position.

The Lady Justices Gloster and King and Lord Justice Lewison refused to make an anonymity order and discharged all previous orders. Lady Justice Gloster, who delivered the main judgment, emphasised the importance of following the correct procedure for an application for anonymity. Her Ladyship considered the test for displacing the default position of openness; the court first must assess whether a person’s Article 8 rights are engaged and, if so, balance those rights against Article 10. Specifically in relation to this case, she stated it “gives rise to real and important issues which require full reporting and justify open debate” and that Mrs Norman’s Article 8 rights were “more illusory than real”.

Lady Justice King added that there is “strong divergence of opinion” in the High Court in respect of the starting point of anonymity in financial remedy hearings. Her Ladyship stated that this very point will be considered by the Court of Appeal in the near future.

The Lady and Lord Justices refused the appeal and judgment will be handed down at a later date.

Media reports publicising the matter can be found here –