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News reporters tackle the family courts

Media coverage of first week's access to family courts

New reporters have been out and about in the family courts in the first week of media access. The Times, in particular, have been active in despatching reporters across the country to see proceedings in action for themselves with reports from Central London, Cardiff, Ipswich, Bath, Barnet and Manchester.

Camilla Cavendish, a high profile advocate of open courts, also penned a commentary piece for the paper on her first experience of sitting in court

“Being able to sit in court, hear the arguments and watch the reaction of the parties is an entirely different experience to talking to aggrieved people on the phone. Without access to the court you are always conscious that you are only getting one side of the story. In court there are more shades of grey. You learn things the parties did not want to tell you.

This does not mean that I will necessarily change my mind, in this particular case, that something has gone badly wrong. But I will feel much more confident of being able to reflect accurately the decision in all its sad complexity.”

The Times has also reported on what they claim is the first rejection of an application to prevent the media from attending a hearing, The story claims that Mr Justice Charles stated that

“To my mind, there is nothing exceptional about this case . . . that would warrant the course being taken of excluding the representatives of the media from exercising their right to attend.”

He went on to say that he said that the question of what could be reported could be dealt with at a future stage, either through media applications for permission to report certain matters, or by the parties seeking to stop publication of certain matters.

You can read the reporters' accounts on The Times website using the links below


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