Children do not have different rights to privacy as compared to adults, but the courts have ruled that there are circumstances where a child might have a reasonable expectation of privacy where an adult may not.
In the case in question, photographs had been taken of a family group by an unknown photographer in Los Angeles, California while the father, a well-known musician, and his children were out shopping in the street and relaxing at a café. The eldest child was then aged 16 and the twins were 10 months old.
The correct general approach to the question of whether a publication is in breach of a person’s privacy rights has been considered on many occasions in both domestic and European courts. Over the course of many cases, a balance has been sought between the right to private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and a publisher’s right to freedom of expression under Article 10. It has been established that a child does not have a separate right to privacy merely by virtue of being a child.
The judge did, however, give more weight to the children’s rights to privacy and concluded that all three claimants had a reasonable expectation that the photographs taken of them out in the street and relaxing in a café in California would not be published. It was a private family outing which belonged to that part of life which was protected by the broader right of personal autonomy. The critical factor which militated in favour of the claimants was that they were children and they had been identified by their surname. Bernadett Noble of Kidd Rapinet’s Slough office comments “It is interesting that, whilst the photographs were lawfully published in California, the English courts took a different view on their publication in the UK”.
If you would like assistance in a children’s rights case privacy matter call Bernadett Noble at Kidd Rapinet on 01753 439089 for further information.