Freedom of Speech in the United Kingdom

22nd January 2019

Mr. Richard Page was dismissed from the Judiciary for his public statement that a child needs a mother and a father. Subsequently he was removed from his position as Chair of the Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust

Richard Page’s public service was exemplary, and he appeared to be valued – until he dissented in a judgement in relation to an adoption by a same sex couple in July 2014. Mr Page expressed the view that it was in a child’s best interests to have both a mother and father; this is an issue of wider public interest and an issue in which Mr Page had an expertise both as a member of the Family Panel and as a former foster parent for 5 children.

The cases raises issues of free speech; and removal from public position by making a statement in modest terms on a matter of public interest.

On 22nd January 2019 Mr. Justice Choudhury (and wing members) heard the claim against the NHS; subsequently, on 14th May 2019 the claim against the Lord Chancellor was heard. Judgement is awaited.