The High Court has refused to continue a privacy injunction won by the teenage son Jonathan of Meriden MP Caroline Spelman.
But the order continues until at least 4pm next Friday to give 17-year-old Mr Spelman, who is suing through his mother and father Mark, an opportunity to ask the Court of Appeal for permission to challenge Mr Justice Tugendhat’s ruling.
Mr Spelman, whose mother Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman is MP for Meriden, was granted the order preventing the publication of sensitive personal information in the Daily Star Sunday by Mr Justice Lindblom at a private hearing earlier this month.
The judge said the information, which was leaked to the newspaper, attracted a reasonable expectation of privacy and publication would not advance the public interest.
But today, Mr Justice Tugendhat concluded that it was “not necessary or proportionate” to continue the injunction.
The court heard that the Spelman family, who were not present, had already incurred legal costs of £60,994.
Mr Justice Tugendhat said Jonathan Spelman played rugby for England in the under-16 and other squads and for Harlequins, but had not played since being injured in a game last September.
"His youth, and his success in public sport, are two of the most important facts at the heart of this case."
He said the newspaper had not told the court what information it intended to disclose, but stated in its evidence that its story highlighted "the pressures on elite athletes from the very beginning of their sporting careers" and the facts of Mr Spelman's story "act as a warning".
The newspaper said the tip-off came from a member of the public unconnected to the Rugby Football Union, Mr Spelman's boarding school or Harlequins and it was not a breach of confidence or sourced from his "inside circle".
Some relevant facts were circulating in rugby circles and were not being treated as confidential, it added.
The judge said that there was little that could be said in a public judgment about the nature of the activity with which the legal action was concerned, except that it was related to Mr Spelman's sporting achievements and aspirations.
Mr Spelman had made clear that any publicity would be most unwelcome and was greatly feared by him and his parents, and the court accepted that even sympathetic coverage would probably have a serious adverse effect.
The judge said the issue of whether Mr Spelman had a reasonable expectation of privacy was one on which each side had a real prospect of success - as was the issue of public interest.
Public debate about how schools and sporting authorities perform their functions with regard to children was important.
He said: "I must make clear that in the present case no one has put in doubt that the school, or anyone else who may be involved, is doing their best to give appropriate priority to the welfare of the claimant.
"But what is appropriate priority, and what is for the welfare of children and young people, is itself a matter fit for public discussion.
"This can be seen from the history of the last 50 years. Opinions can change.
"Discipline by corporal punishment was almost universal in schools in England, until the 1960s, and it was administered by many parents and school teachers who believed that it was in the best interests of the children. It has since come to be regarded as unacceptable.
"On the other hand, the demands made on children for the benefit of sport have increased very greatly over that period.
"Whereas in the past there was relatively little money to be made out of sport by anyone, sport has in recent years generated huge revenues, mostly from broadcasting and other intellectual property rights.
"So there is a risk that those responsible for organising national and international sporting activities may have interests that conflict with the welfare of the children who participate, or aspire to participate, in these activities."