• 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


Daily Mail – We questioned whether Justices decided the case is not worth arguing was an accurate or balanced way to explain the Supreme Court decision not to permit further appeal by Alfie Evans parents, to a non legal audience. (Irrespective of view on whether the current legal framework would benefit from reform – See posts here and here). Whilst technically accurate, it seems to have been used mischievously here, to give an impression of judicial disinterest to a non legal readership. (See also the Justices reasons, order and explanation here; Alder Hey Hospital statement; and yesterdays ECHR decision):


Transparency Positives

The Economist – With a relatively unusual, and welcome, focus on the care numbers crisis in The troubling surge in English children being taken from their parents:


The TelegraphReported the FJC Second Bridget Lindley Memorial Lecture and discussion on social media and the family courts, with a focus on transparency:


Linker of the Week(s)

The Mirror – With Some people think Alfie Evans ‘responds’ and ‘smiles’ – but doctors have given a different explanation for his movements by Alan Weston.  Going beyond reporting parental views to also include Alder Hey Hospital’s statement and linking. (The Guardian also featured a Doctor’s perspective here):


BuzzFeedNews – Linked retrospectively from A Groundbreaking Study Has Found People Living Below The Poverty Line Are Being Denied Free Legal Help to the Law Society research, once that research was published :


The Guardian – Council kept boy, 9, in care for whole of his life, judge reveals: Louise Tickle (Transparency Project Member) linked readers to the published family court judgment from her report and highlighted the role of transparency in accountability and improvement of social work practice. (As acknowledged by the Chief Social Worker):



The Telegraph – Olivia Rudgard reported transparency around complaints against the judiciary, with links to Professor Jo Delahunty’s article in Counsel Magazine and a blog by Lucy Reed (Transparency Project Chair) in Rude judges bully lawyers in court, QC complains:



BBC NewsReported the judgment published from A v R & Anor without reference or link to the judgment:


The Daily MailReported the published judgment from Bloom v Bloom, via the Press Association, with a reference to ‘a ruling published at a legal website’ (suggestive of closed access), and no link:


The Times and the Daily Mail Reported the President’s lecture to the University of Edinburgh law school, without reference (let alone link to) the freely available transcript published at the Judiciary website the previous day:


The Guardian and the Express – The Guardian provided links to their own articles on ‘Bristol’ and ‘children’ while not giving readers a simple link to the published Serious Case Review under discussion. The Express also reported without a link:



The Queen on the application of DSD and NBV & Ors -v- The Parole Board of England and Wales & Ors and John Radford – Blog to follow on the decision that parole board rules, inhibiting provision of reasons, had strayed beyond the authority Parliament granted to make such rules, in light of the principle of open justice. (And overturning the parole board release decision, in favour of a full new panel hearing). See the published judgment and summary:


C (interim judgment on expert evidence) 2018 – An ordinary family court judgment, featuring a expert’s pragmatic, un-defensive response to improving future practice and being named in a published judgment. Discussed here in When Expert Evidence Goes Wrong – the lessons to be learned:


Secretary of State for the Home Department -v- Skripal and Another – We explained the Court of Protection decision in Why the Court of Protection gave permission for blood samples to be taken in Skripal poisoning case:


A v R & Anor (Appeal of Summary Determination) [2018] – We commented on this High Court appeal decision, featuring overworked judges, inadequate expert evidence and interrupting lawyers, in Judge tells lawyers off for talking over one another in court:


Herefordshire Council v AB 2018 – Louise Tickle and Suespicious Minds (Transparency Project members) covered Keehan J’s important judgment on council misuse of S.20 with Council kept boy, 9, in care for whole of his life, judge reveals and Local Authority unlawfully caring for child for four years (s.20 abuse). See also  S.20 guide for social workers from Suespicious Minds and What does ‘section 20’ mean? And when should it be used? at Child Protection Resource:


Hart v Hart – We commented on HHJ Wildblood’s decision to commit a pensioner to prison in What happens when you break an order made by the family court? A : Prison, that’s what:



The government review of press sustainability – The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport published the terms of reference and announced the Chair and panel members:


The what works centre for children’s social care – Announced their first research priorities: How to safely reduce the need for children to enter care and How to improve supervision and decision-making in Children’s Social Care. Cascade explained:


The role of the social worker in adoption – BASW called for a UK wide review of adoption law on the ethics of assumptions about severance of connection to families of origin in response to the research they commissioned:

‘Contact: In Whose Best Interests?’ – Lord Justice McFarlane spoke at the NAGALRO 2018 Conference on adoption, contact in adoption and intractable private law disputes (and referenced the BASW review findings). The text is at the Bloomsbury Law Online website: Contact: a point of view.

The second Bridget Lindley memorial lecture – Louise Tickle (freelance journalist and Transparency Project member) spoke on the impact of social media and family proceedings and press reporting of the family courts. The FJC will be publishing the transcript. See Opening up a closed system: The Second Bridget Lindley Memorial Lecture at Child Protection Resource.

Free speech in an online world – Tickets are available at Eventbrite for this Young Barristers Committee event on 11th April:

‘Transparency: Why it matters, what it means’ – The Bloomsbury Family Law Conference is on 16th May 2018 with Lucy Reed (Chair of the Transparency Project) speaking. See also this short clip on transparency, ahead of the launch of ‘Transparency and the Family Courts: Publicity and Privacy In Practice’, due for publication by Bloomsbury Professional:


Child Protection Conference 2018 – Announced @survivecourt as Key Note Speaker, speaking from lived experience on risk of future emotional harm. The conference is on 15th September 2018. Tickets from eventbrite:


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