Journalist thanks pro bono barristers

12 November 2015

                                     Louise Tickle

With the help of two barristers working pro bono, journalist Louise Tickle has managed to overcome proposed reporting restrictions that would have barred her from writing important elements in the story of a North Tyneside's family's nine month struggle to be re-united with a baby that was taken into care as soon as it was born. 

Without the work of Lucy Reed and Sarah Phillimore of St John's Chambers, Bristol, the story due to be published next month, would have never left the drawing board. 

Louise Tickle, who was shortlisted for this year's Bar Council Legal Reporting Awards, writes for BarTalk to explain how the two Bristol based barristers helped her overcome this legal challenge.

On 19 October at the Newcastle family court, after a three-month tussle with North Tyneside Council, I won the right to report the details of care proceedings in which a baby was removed from his mother at birth, her struggle to get him back, and previous proceedings involving other children in the family.  

As well as gaining access to otherwise private court papers and transcripts, and permission to report freely from interviews with family members, friends and professionals involved, I am also now able to identify the local authority in question, which its lawyers had argued until almost the last minute I should not. 

Without the heroic support of Lucy Reed of St John's Chambers, Bristol, who gave me at least eight full days of her time for free, following initial help from Sarah Phillimore of the same set, I cannot see that I would have achieved this result.  

I embarked on my initial application to relax section 12 of the Administration of Justice Act 1960 essentially on my own, with no idea of just how taxing the process would be. I was quickly daunted and discouraged at the complex and long-winded pre-hearing and hearing processes. Without my counsels' unstinting and skilful analysis of the council's opposition to the article, and later on in the process, Reed's experience and expertise in constructing and evidencing effective arguments to counter their position, I question whether I would have felt able to carry on.  

The success of my application is due overwhelmingly to Lucy Reed and Sarah Phillimore's support. As someone who has been self employed for nearly 15 years, I understand very keenly and want to acknowledge what it will have cost Lucy Reed in particular to act for such an extensive period without payment. 

I am glad to have this opportunity to extend both barristers my enormous thanks.

Louise Tickle