Newspapers' legal bid to name litigants in two high-profile family court legal battles

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Senior judges have been asked to decide whether the identity of a wealthy foreign businessman who has been embroiled in a lengthy family court fight over money with his ex-wife in London should remain a secret.

The man says his name, and that of his ex-wife, should not feature in media reports of the case because of safety concerns.

But journalists disagree, and editors at The Times hope to persuade judges to rule that the couple should be identified.

Lawyers for the paper won a High Court decision in their favour and a ruling that the pair should be named but the man has appealed to the Court of Appeal.

Family court hearings are usually staged in private, with members of the public barred. Rules allow journalists to attend hearings but reporters are not necessarily allowed to publicise detail of cases.

Meanwhile, a British actress who was embroiled in a family court fight with her ex-partner over their child is waiting to hear whether a judge will rule that she can be named in media reports of the case.

The actress won the fight with her ex-partner on Thursday, when deputy High Court judge Alex Verdan ruled in her favour.

Judge Verdan said the actress and her ex-partner could not be named in reports of the hearing and said no detail of evidence aired could be revealed.

But he has yet to decide whether the pair should be identified in his full ruling on the case, which is expected to be published in the near future.

The judge had been told the actress, who has worked for the BBC, lived in England and her former partner in Australia.

He heard she had brought the child back to Britain after a trip to Australia earlier this year.

The man argued the child was habitually resident in Australia, and he complained that the actress had been wrong to take the child back to the UK.

But Judge Verdan, who analysed evidence over two days at a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London, disagreed.

The judge said he had concluded the child had not been wrongfully removed from Australia by the actress, and he said he would give reasons for his decision in his written ruling on the case.

Journalists from The Sun argued that the public should know the identity of the actress, but a lawyer who represented the interests of the couple’s child disagreed.

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