“This looks very interesting. Yes I agree that there's a gap in the market for such a work. It will be a challenge to keep it up-to-date, particularly if it is going to cover social media usage. I agree that a book setting out what information can and cannot be shared will be of real help. For example, my local authority works closely with the police and I think there is a real 'grey area' about the sharing of information” – Review of Proposal,
Senior Lawyer, Local Authority
“compelling and fascinating…an absolutely essential read for a family practitioner… I was left…comforted that as things change apace in the Family Court I was properly informed with this book. I highly recommend it.” – Rebekah Wilson, Garden Court Chambers,
“It is written for practitioners to tell them clearly where to find the right rules and what they actually say. I was particularly impressed by the helpful section about monitoring social media and how to go about getting things removed.
Whether lawyer or social worker, we all need to understand the changes which are happening within the environment in which we practice. We would all be better practitioners for carefully reading this book.” – Rodney Noon, Solicitor-Advocate,
Seen and Heard Volume 29 / Issue 1 / 2019
“I would expect this to be a popular title. It's difficult to comment on the content as (as they say in their proposal) this issue is very much in limbo at the moment, with publication of judgments under consultation and some of the research (I think) not yet completed. Assuming that new rules and guidance are indeed published this year – they have been delayed a number of times – then a book published shortly afterwards would sell well, I think” – Review of Proposal,
Family Law Barrister
“The theme is highly relevant. It is of interest, I would predict, to many family lawyers. Certainly, I would be interested in it and would consider buying it. From the list of competitor books provided, there appears very much to be a gap in the market that needs filling” – Review of Proposal,
Family Law Barrister
“I was interested by this proposal. There is definitely a market for the book. There will be hundreds of relevant new cases each year. The book will need constant refreshing - say once every two years” – Review of Proposal,
Family Law Solicitor, Partner
“I approached reading the book Transparency in the Family Courts with a curious but slightly laid back manner perhaps unconsciously thinking it can't be that essential for a family practitioner. How wrong that was. The book is a compelling and fascinating read. I would say it is an absolutely essential read for a family practitioner as we navigate ever-increasing complex issues of transparency and openness in family practice in the era of social media.
The book sets out in eight chapters everything a family practitioner should know about transparency in the Family Court. Each chapter is easily accessible and sets out complex issues in a clear and digestible way. The beginning of each chapter sets out the key issues covered and the key resources. Each then goes on to consider those issues in more detail.
Chapter one of the book sets out how the book provides a useful resource for family practitioners, the basic principles underlying the law and what may be published from family proceedings, the legislative framework for that, how and why the law has developed over time and the important research and law and policy on family proceedings, particularly care proceedings.
“Transparency, used as an umbrella term to describe openness, accessibility and public understanding of the family justice system, is not a new or ephemeral issue, although it has received particular attention in recent years.”
The introduction reminds us of some key features of open justice perhaps all too often overlooked by the Family Court. “Publicity is the very soul of justice” (Lord Shaw in Scott v Scott 1913 AC 417). The book introduces us to the competing complexities of balancing principles of open justice, their impact on parties' rights to privacy and their right to participate openly in Family Court decisions.
Chapter 2 of the book deals with the Extent of Privacy in Family Proceedings and some issues such the attendance of the media being prima facie allowed (they just can't usually report) which might not be as well known as they should be. The famously misreported 'Muslim foster carer case' for example citing the problems with the reporter initially not being allowed into the court building by security. Chapter 3 deals with Orders Restricting or Permitting Reporting. Chapter 4 is a fascinating read on the Publishing and Reporting on Court Judgments. Of particular note is the consideration of issues of jigsaw identification and the decreasing number of reported family cases on BAILII.
Chapter 5 looks at The Internet and Social Media neatly followed by Chapter 6 dealing with Enforcement. Chapter 7 looks at Other Courts and considers how they deal with the Article 6, 8 and 10 balance there.
Chapter 8 is entitled Looking Ahead and is perhaps the most essential read of all. It concludes that:
“we suggest that greater transparency of family justice is critical, not just to public confidence in the Family Justice System, but also because through robust but healthy challenge of the way we do things, it represents an opportunity to see things from a fresh perspective and to innovate for the benefit of the families and children we serve .” (page 243)
I was left agreeing with this conclusion and comforted that as things change apace in the Family Court I was properly informed with this book. I highly recommend it.” – Rebekah Wilson, Garden Court Chambers,