• Correcting, clarifying or commenting on media reports of family court cases

  • Explaining or commenting on published judgments of family court cases

  • Highlighting other transparency news


The Spectator, The Times, The Guardian, The Observer and BBC Radio 4 – We compiled a rolling list of material we’ve found particularly thought-provoking, in relation to Alfie Evans, including comment from these mainstream media outlets. See Alfie Evans: Summary and useful links by Sarah Phillimore. The analysis crosses sectors and publisher types and includes three blogs published last week at the Transparency Project site: Alfie Evans, best interests, and parental rights by Polly Morgan, The Abuse of Alfie’s Rights: A Gilded Death is Still a Death by Allan Norman, and Charlie Gard, Alfie Evans and R (A Child): Why A Medical Treatment Significant Harm Test Would Hinder Not Help by Katie Gollop QC and Sarah Pope. They’ve provoked lots of twitter discussion, see for example here and here:


The Guardian – We blogged before about the responses of some social workers (and others), to an article by Louise Tickle, The state has a terrible secret: it kidnaps our children, itself about this case.  Last week we commented again, in response to A warped view of social work in the media is unfair – and dangerous by a social worker (under a pseudonym) on the same issues. See Talking about social work here:


Transparency positive(s)

The Mirror then BBC News – Reported this good news social work story:


The Western Mercury and the BBC – Examples of local democracy reporting in action. The Weston Mercury (then BBC news) reported a City Corporation scrutiny committee decision, to adopt research on social workers experiences of investigating neglect in affluent families, for their service improvement plan. Ensuring that the decision (and the research) reached the public domain. Albeit sector commentators thought the real public interest ‘story’ lay in a worrying disregard for parents’ legal rights in child protection process, revealed by some of the (apparently unchallenged) social work comments to researchers. And no mainstream publication linked to the actual research. See twitter responses here and here, and blog analysis at Child Protection Resource – Just what is the place of parents in the hierarchy of child protection?. (Also this further example of a BBC News report based on local democracy in action last week):


Linker(s) of the week

BBC News and the Independent – Linked readers to a presentation of research on neglect and affluence (above), even if not linking to the actual research as Children and Young People Now did. (Legal and social work publishers routinely link to primary sources in a way rarely replicated by mainstream news publishers):



BBC News and the Times:



Owens v Owens – Whilst there’s no decision or published judgment yet, from the legally important Supreme Court hearing last week, the link to watch the hearing is here alongside the published judgment from the Court of Appeal. (See also the Times on recent ministerial comments – plus a twitter thought on that):


NHS Windsor and Maidenhead CCG v SP (Withdrawal of CANH) [2018] Judgment from a legally ‘routine’ court of protection case of the highest importance to the family concerned, and with relevance for anyone who hasn’t yet made advance treatment decisions and wants to. See Compassion In Dying for practical advice:



Transparency and the family courts:

  • The text of Baroness Hale’s first Nicholas Wall Memorial Lecture on openness and privacy in the family courts, was published at GraysInn.org.uk
  • Sir Andrew McFarlane gave the keynote address at the Bloomsbury Family Law Conference on court modernisation, transparency and more. (We’ve yet to see a published transcript)
  • Lucy Reed, Chair of The Transparency Project, also spoke on transparency at the Bloomsbury Conference. Her text is here. (See also this short post on the new book, Transparency in the Family Courts: Publicity and Privacy in Practice, by the Transparency Project Trustees – published at Bloomsbury.)
  • Jo Delahunty QC delivered a Gresham Lecture entitled Transparency in the Family Court: What goes on behind closed doors. Participants received a handout. The talk will also be published but see this twitter thread for a flavour:


Transparency through research:

  • The MOJ published the 7th Family Justice Research Bulletin. Some have suggested that it may not include research published after early 2017, and anticipated a Bulletin 8 shortly to fill those gaps
  • The MOJ also published Areas of Research Interest, providing the key family justice research gaps they’d like to see filled.
  • UCL hosted an international conference with the Nuffield and Legal Education Foundations – The future of Justice:harnessing empirical research. It aimed to help close a widening ‘justice research gap” and promote the empirical research base needed to inform a transformed justice system. Featuring the President of the Supreme Court, Baroness Hale on ‘Challenges in the justice system and the contribution of empirical research’. Resources (presumably including her speech) will be published here in due course:


Feature pic: Courtesy of Flickr Lauri Heikkinen via Creative Commons licence – with thanks