Blog -Transparency in the Family Courts

For many decades there have been discussions as to whether or not Family cases should be publicised/broadcast. Family cases deal with the most personal and important private matters of a person’s life and could include children disputes, divorce issues and financial proceedings following a relationship breakdown.

On the one hand there is the important consideration of maintaining confidentiality about the identity and personal information of the parties involved in court proceedings. Many of these cases involve children and some of the issues raised can be deeply distressing if they are made public. The courts will also be aware of the need for participants in court proceedings to tell the truth and this may deter a person’s willingness to do so if they are aware that their actions may be made public.

On the other hand openness is an important factor to show the public that the Family Courts are making fair and proper decisions especially on issues such as removing children from their parents, how to meet childrens’ best interests and exercising discretion in family finance cases, etc.

The President of the Family Court, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has concluded after a period of consultation that there should be more openness in Family Court proceedings. His intention is for the Family Courts to become more transparent and allow accredited media representatives to attend and report publicly on what they see and hear whilst at the same time maintaining anonymity of children and families and keeping details of their private lives confidential.

If you are concerned that your Family Court case may be publicised speak to one of our Family Law specialists Stephen Warburton or David Bannister at our Northwich or Winsford offices. They can be contacted on 01606 74301.