A recent report on transparency in the Family Courts has led to the conclusion that change is needed to the current system.
At present, when a journalist attends a Family Court hearing, they cannot usually publish anything about the hearing. The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane has stated that this is not sustainable going forward. Instead, he has suggested that it is important that we allow journalists to publish articles about what is seen and heard during Family Court hearings, whilst also maintaining the anonymity of families and individuals involved.
There is a clear interplay with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights which protects the right to respect for private and family life and it will therefore be interesting to see how these changes will be implemented in practice.
The response to this has been somewhat varied, with some considering this to be a necessary change to allow for proper scrutiny of the Family Court, whilst others believe that it may sacrifice the privacy of those families and individuals involved in Family Court proceedings.
Sir Andrew McFarlane has confirmed that he will begin the process of implementing the changes, although, they will require approval of the Family Procedure Rules Committee and Ministry of Justice ministers.
Weronika Husejko, Paralegal, Sinclair Law Solicitors
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