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Transparency in the Family Courts Report published

The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has published a report presenting his conclusions following an extensive review of the provisions relating to transparency in the family courts.

The main conclusion is that accredited media representatives should be able, not only to attend hearings, but to report publicly on what they see and hear. Such reporting must, however, be subject to very clear rules to maintain the anonymity of children and families, and to keep confidential intimate details of their private lives.

Sir Andrew writes that the dual goals of the review have been to enhance public confidence in the Family Justice system and to maintain the anonymity of those families and children who turn to it for protection. He considers that these twin principles of confidence and confidentiality are not, in his view, mutually exclusive and it is possible to achieve both goals.

He adds:

"I now intend to lead the process of implementing these changes, which will involve a number of initiatives. Any change in the court process will require the approval of the Family Procedure Rules Committee and Ministry of Justice ministers. Insofar as there is a need to amend statute law, this is, of course, a matter entirely for Parliament and not the judiciary."

For the report, details of the evidence sessions and the Financial Remedies Proceedings Consultation document, click here. For the response of Cafcass to the Transparency Review findings, click here.