FAQs: Reporting personal information of defendants in criminal cases

> If there are no reporting restrictions in my case where I am a named defendant, can the media report my name and address?

The short answer is yes; however, you should enquire with the publisher, via their complaints policy to see if they would be willing to remove your name or address. It is worth explaining why it may harmfully impact on you or those close to you when you get in touch. If the publisher is regulated by IMPRESS, they are required to acknowledge your complaint within 7 days and provide you with a final decision within 21 days.  

You may also complain directly to IMPRESS if the matter is urgent and the publisher does not respond to you in a timely fashion.

> Are the media allowed to report on children involved in criminal cases?

The media are not permitted to report on the identity of children under the age of 18 years old, under s49 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933. They are also not allowed to publish information that might lead to the identification of a child, whether they be a witness or a defendant (this is known as jigsaw identification). This includes, but is not limited to their name, address or school or photo.

Breach of the section is punishable by summary conviction and could result in large fines. If you are concerned that the press has reported on a criminal case in such a way that identifies a child, contact them directly to take that information down; if you do not receive a satisfactory response, you can contact your local authorities, or IMPRESS and we will do our best to help.

> I don’t think its fair that the media can report this information, what can I do to voice my concerns?

At IMPRESS we are always interested in the public’s views on media standards and ethical practices. We are currently undertaking a comprehensive review of our Standards Code. You are welcome to submit your views on the IMPRESS Standards Code by contacting the team at codereview@impressreg.org.uk.


Further resources on media reporting and the criminal courts:



Useful links                           

Make a complaint

Complaint Decisions

Regulated publications

Complaints FAQ

IMPRESS Service Standards


Press intrusion                 

If you are experiencing press intrusion, you may make a request to IMPRESS to issue an Advisory Notice

If you would prefer to speak to one of our staff, please call us on 020 3325 4288, email us at complaints@impressreg.org.uk