Publishing to coincide with the publication of new rules and guidance, Transparency in the Family Courts: Publicity and Privacy in Practice, draws together the law and key cases to provide practical guidance on publicity in family law cases and their reporting in the media.
Transparency is a troubling issue in family justice, with courts being accused of secrecy and unaccountability and concerns raised in relation to the risks posed to children of publicity cases in which they are involved. The issue is one of competing interests between individual interests and rights, but the law is complex and confusing.
Problems remain with: Inconsistencies amongst courts in following guidance; Too few judgments being published; Delays in sending transcripts; Failures to safely anonymise judgments and protect against identification; Different approaches to reporting restrictions; Inaccurate media stories despite access to judgments.
Further reform in this area has been mooted by the President of the Family Division repeatedly since 2014, but the nature and timeline for such reform remain obscure.
The numbers of cases which involve issues around publicity are increasing.
The authors all have significant practical experience in the area and are in a unique position to offer practical advice across the range of problems that lawyers may face. Their work with The Transparency Project highlighted a number of cases where the public have been misinformed and they have tried to correct or clarify the law.
Each chapter begins with a short series of key issues and ends with practice points. References to research, government papers etc. are listed at the end of each chapter. Key legislation and case studies appear in appendices. Each chapter includes specific sections on the sorts of problems that may arise in practice - What and how to advise depending on whether the client is a child, parent, local authority etc.