The Transparency Project will be this year’s Byline Festival with a panel discussion and a two-part workshop.

The festival takes place at Pippingford Park in Sussex over the bank holiday weekend (23 to 26 August 2019). It’s an arts and music festival with a strong focus on frank and honest discussion about politics, journalism and the media, amidst the festive fun and camping in the heart of the English countryside. We felt it was an ideal place for the Transparency Project to host a discussion about access to information about the justice system, and to put on workshops discussing our core activity of reporting on family justice.

“Truth, Trust and Transparency in the Justice System”

Panel discussion in the Forest Forum at 3 – 4 pm on Friday, 23 August.

Access to justice depends on access to legal information. Justice must be seen to be done.  But when court hearings and decisions are not accessible to public scrutiny, and when media reporting is distorted and sensationalised, how can people know the truth about the justice being done in their name? Our panellists discuss open justice in the context of family, crime and human rights cases.

CHAIR: Brian Cathcart, Kingston Professor of Journalism


  • Lucy Reed, family law barrister and chair of the Transparency Project.
  • Adam Wagner, human rights law barrister and founder of the UK Human Rights Blog and RightsInfo.
  • Sophie Walker, criminal barrister, former CEO of Centre for Criminal Appeals, and founder of JUST:transcription
  • Mark Hanna, Department of Journalism Studies, co-author of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists

“Reporting the secret family courts – a workshop in two parts”

Workshop sessions in Tent 4 at

  1. 4.30 to 6pm on Saturday, 24 August (part 1) an
  2. 4.30 to 6pm on Sunday, 25 August (part 2).

Barrister, legal blogger and chair of The Transparency Project Lucy Reed will run this workshop in two parts. The workshop is aimed at anyone with an interest in open justice, and in particular journalists with an interest in reporting the work of the family courts.

In session one – Lucy will give some context : what the family courts do, their powers and responsibilities, how they operate and what privacy rules are in place. Lucy will give some case studies of the range of issues that family courts are asked to deal with.

In session two – Lucy will look at some of the practicalities of reporting on family court issues – where to start and what to watch out for – and the broader developments in family court transparency, including the ‘Legal Blogging Pilot’, Family Court Reporting Watch and ongoing reviews of the family courts.

Come to the festival

As well as these events which we’ve organised, members of the Transparency Project including Paul Magrath, Alice Twaite and Judith Townend plan to attend other activities at the festival, asking questions, taking notes, chatting in the beer tent and possibly even dancing. We look forward to seeing you there!

To find out more about the Byline Festival, buying tickets, how to get there, where to stay, etc, see their website.

For a flavour of the festival, see Paul’s writeup of last year’s:  Politics and the Media under scrutiny at the Byline Festival

Since you’re here…

We have a small favour to ask!
The Transparency Project is a registered charity in England & Wales run largely by volunteers who also have full-time jobs. We’re working hard to secure extra funding so that we can keep making family justice clearer for all who use the court and work within it. We’d be really grateful if you were able to help us by making a small one-off (or regular!) donation through our Just Giving page. You can find our page, and further information here.
Thanks for reading!