• 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 Mirror – Reported with Boy, 8, taken off mum by social workers who said ‘she had not taken him for ice cream in response to GM v Camarthenshire County Council, sparking scepticism, then acknowledgement that this was essentially correct. Mostyn J was critical of social work evidence that a child should stay in care based on this, among other, relatively trivial parenting flaws (and of the use of ‘attachment theory’). See discussions here and here. Of course it’s not possible to reach a fully informed view with publication of neither the original judgment nor the SW evidence. (The case also highlights the pressing need for better use of research evidence in social work assessments and court decisions. See the What Works Centre and Observatory). Guest post to follow:


The Sunday Times – We responded to Roy Lidle’s column in Name-calling of judges. The lecture the Sunday Times don’t link to, or even adequately reference to give readers a fighting chance of finding and reading what Sir James did say, is here:


The Daily Mail (and BBC News) – We commented on the Daily Mail’s misleading headline, Nurse’s one-year-old son is taken from her care after she let him sit in a Bob The Builder toy car that was ‘inappropriate’ for his age. See Bob the Builder here.  We’ve written to the Daily Mail and will update when we can on their response and our next actions. See also this comment on the later BBC News item:


The Daily Mail – Twitter commentators called out Why modern wives are willing to ‘turn a blind eye’ to their love cheat husbands as figures show a major drop in the numbers of divorces initiated by women in the Daily Mail for the ‘junk news’ it was:


Transparency positive(s)

BBC Radio 4 The Untold – With the story of one mother’s experience of international child abduction. Particularly interesting for the suggestions that sensitive, skilled journalism over the course of an investigation, may have played a part in an eventual plan for a first contact between the abducted child and her mother in over a year.  Listen here:


The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, BBC News, BBC Radio 4, the Guardian, the Times, the Brief – Covered new research out this week suggestive of a crisis many say is engulfing our child protection, care and adoption ‘systems’.

John Bolch summarised the findings here on wide variance in numbers of 0-5’s adopted from council to council; public spending on children; the latest care numbers statistics; and from the Care Crisis Review, launched with this speech from Sir Andrew McFarlane.

Media reports included the Bureau of Investigative Journalism;  BBC News and BBC Radio 4 (from 2: 40) [also at Audioboom] on the ‘adoption postcode lottery’; BBC News on the Commissioners findings with BBC One Sunday Politics London (sorry London-centric) on cuts and challenges facing London councils (from 53 minutes); and the Times, the Brief, the Guardian (also here), and the BBC, in response to the care crisis review.

Sector responses included CYPNow on the adoption numbers research, with Community Care and Child Protection Resource on the review:



The Telegraph (and the Mirror) – Reported selectively here and here on the published judgment from MT v OT with no attempt to guide readers to the real information let alone link to it:


(And the Sunday Times, Daily Mail and BBC News – As discussed in Name Calling of Judges and Bob the Builder above)



We’ve not covered any recently published cases but noted this one to watch, involving a reminder that the term ‘disclosure’ must not be used to describe what a child tells someone (/ alleges) about abuse, and that investigations into  allegations must not simply proceed as if true.



Court Reform and Open Justice – We summarised the published responses to the Public Accounts Committee’s Transforming Courts and Tribunals inquiry, including our own here:

Child Protection Conference 2018 – Still time to book for this Transparency Project supported conference on 15th September. Details here:



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