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ALC publishes its submission on covert recordings in family proceedings

Family Justice Council invited to produce guidance

The Association of Lawyers for Children (ALC) has published its submission on the use of covert recordings by parties in family proceedings

The President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, recently gave judgment in Re B (A Child) [2017] EWCA 1579, a case concerning covert recordings. It was an appeal from the judgment of HHJ Bellamy who had attempted to provide guidance on this issue and who had invited submissions from Cafcass, Nagalro, The Transparency Project and the ALC. While the President ruled that HHJ Bellamy, as a Circuit Judge, should not have sought to provide this guidance and so his judgment should not be published, he has permitted publication of the submissions by those named organisations. He also invited the Family Justice Council to have regard to them and to produce their own guidance on covert recordings.

Within the submission, the ALC suggests that any generalized consideration of the issue of covert recording should distinguish between covert recording of children as distinct from covert recording of other adult parties or professionals involved in proceedings. It is submitted by the ALC that, as a matter of public policy, covert recordings of children should rarely, if ever, be admitted as evidence in family proceedings. The submission also considers recordings of conversations with professionals and with other parties to the proceedings.

For the ALC's submission, click here. For the judgment in Re B (A Child) [2017] EWCA 1579, click here.