Reporting to be allowed in the Family Court
Posted on 31st December 2022
Family court reporting to be allowed for the first time
Until now, reporters have been able to observe hearings, but only report what was specifically allowed by a judge. From the end of January 2023, journalists in Leeds, Cardi, and Carlisle will be able to report on what they see and hear during the hearing as long as they protect the anonymity of the families by not identifying anyone involved. These three cities have been chosen as a representative mix of both rural and urban communities.
Sir Andrew MacFarlane, president of the family court, has said that "there is a need for greater openness to build public confidence", as it has long been suggested that the family court is too secretive, despite having the power to make significant interventions in the lives of families.
During this trial in the three cities chosen, journalists can name local authorities in care proceedings, but they cannot name individual social workers unless they get permission from the court. They can name the lawyers involved, as well as court-appointed experts, and can also interview the families, as long as they remain anonymous. They cannot name medical professionals treating the children involved if that is a part of the case, in order to protect the children. Reporters will also be allowed to see some of the documents concerning the cases, but this does not include expert or medical reports.
Judges will, of course, retain the right to refuse permission for anything to be reported if they believe it would be inappropriate or if it is something the families involved do not want.
What do you think about journalists being able to report on family court cases? Let us know!
Tagged as: Court, Court order, Legislation
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