A FAMILY court judge who said there was "no need" to name the council or social workers involved in a case in which two young girls were placed for adoption has come under fire from a campaigner.

As reported in the Daily Echo, the girls' 17-year-old sister wanted to look after them, saying she was "completely committed" to her siblings, who are four and nearly two, and could meet their care needs.

Family members gave their backing and said they would provide support. However, Judge Martin Dancey, sitting at Bournemouth's family court, ruled against the teenager after social workers and a psychologist said she would not be able to meet the girls' "emotional needs".

The judge said there was "lots of love and affection" for the girls, but he added that was "not all it takes".

He decided the girls should instead be placed for adoption.

Detail of the case has been outlined by the judge in a written ruling following a family court hearing in Bournemouth.

The judge said the children could not be identified and added: "I have not identified the local authority or any of the professionals on the basis there is no need to do so."

Former Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, who campaigns for improvements in the family justice system, said not naming the children was right, but the judge's reasoning when deciding not to name the council was wrong.

"Judge Dancey is asking himself the wrong question by reasoning the need," said Mr Hemming.

"The question isn't whether it is necessary to identify the council, or their staff, and consequently prevent journalists from identifying them and prevent the public from discovering who they are.

"The question is whether there is a good reason why journalists shouldn't publish their names and why the public shouldn't be told.

"If he is saying, for example, that naming the council might create an information jigsaw which will lead to the children's names emerging, then that might be a good reason.

"But just to say there is 'no need' is never good enough - certainly not in a case where children are placed for adoption on the basis of evidence from council professionals.

"We'll be on a very rocky road indeed if journalists are prevented from publishing information merely because there is 'no need'.

"Do we need to know the name of the football team manager? Do we need to know the name of the politician? Do we need to know the name of the judge?

"Shakespeare explained this long ago and Judge Dancey should remind himself of what King Lear said. 'O, reason not the need! Our basest beggars. Are in the poorest thing superfluous. Allow not nature more than nature needs'."