• 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 Times – We commented on Delayed Adoption is Sure To Damage A Child, an opinion piece in the Times, in More adoption or faster adoption?


The Times and other publications – We analysed media reports of the latest care proceedings hearing about the ‘Christian child forced into Muslim foster care‘,  in The muslim foster carer case again – what else has emerged?  A Guardian article has since reported the press regulator IPSO as declining to act:  In a letter sent to complainants, its executive claimed that it could not investigate and publicly rule on the inaccuracies because of “the effect … this coverage may have on those involved in the case, and particularly the child” . We aim to comment further once we’ve seen the report / agreed schedule that HHJ Sapnara gave permission for Tower Hamlets Council to publish in due course:


The Guardian, the Independent, the Times (in the Brief) and the Telegraph – We discussed the language used in the headlines of most publications reporting a Court of Protection case, in Let’s be clear: Right to die and Withdrawal of Treatment are not the same. The blog is a response to these headlines: Court decision no longer required in right-to-die cases, judge rules in the Guardian; Right-to-die cases no longer need court approval after landmark ruling in the Independent; Court permission not needed in right-to-die cases, rules High Court  in the Brief;  Right-to-die cases do not need to go to court, judge rules in the Telegraph. (See also updates at foot of blog for responses from the Times, the Guardian and the Independent. The Guardian and Independent responded with some corrections, The Times didn’t really engage):


The Times and BBC News – We corrected overreaching claims about revised guidance for judges dealing with domestic abuse in contact and other family court applications in the Times, and set out what has and has not changed. See Domestic Abuse – revised guidance issued – what does it say?.  The Times report Children at risk of psychogical or physical abuse must not have contact with parent, judges told was followed by the even more misleading Family court changes to protect children ‘lifesaving‘ at BBC News, arising from the Victoria Derbyshire Show (despite Lucy Reed, Chair of the Transparency Project having appeared on the show explaining the legal process). That episode is still available here (9.16- 9.28am). The inaccuracies were subsequently raised with them, resulting in some corrections. However the revised article still contains legal inaccuracies in our view, in particular around the issue of presumptions – what the legal presumption actually is / says, how and when it applies – and whether the guidance changes anything about the operation of it (it doesn’t). (See also When the facts don’t fit the narrative by John Bolch at Marilyn Stowe):


Transparency Positives


Emily Dugan at BuzzFeed – With A Record Number Of People Are Representing Themselves In Court – This Is What It’s Like – An in depth investigation of the impact on litigants in person of being in court without legal representation, including in the family court. (Also an example of a judge giving permission to a journalist to report some of the details of a hearing concerning a child, which would ordinarily be prohibited).


The Telegraph – With an engaging, sensitive and in depth report: Fostering crisis: the carers’ stories. With 9,000 new foster homes urgently needed, Caroline Scott talks to carers about their experiences:


The Guardian and Independent – With constructive responses to our request for a headline correction – see update to the original blog here:




M (by her litigation friend, Mrs B) -v- A Hospital [2017] EWCOP 19  –  Discussed above in response to media reports of it. Full judgment available at BAILII or the Judiciary website.


‘Ordinary’ cases from the family court (through the transparency by publication guidance):




Family Law Awards 2017 – If you do want to vote for the Transparency Project / @seethrujustice as legal commentator of the year, (or cast your vote otherwise), you have until midday on Friday 20th October here:


The Court of Protection pilot – taking off before a flying test? – A blog posing questions about the Court of Protection Pilot:


Myths and Monsters of Child Protection –  There’s still time to sign up for this conference hosted by the Open Nest, featuring Lemn Sissay, among others, at the Foundling Museum, London, WC1 on Monday 16th October 2017:


The Complexities of Accurately Reporting Family Proceedings A new blog at Cafcass. We note that Anthony Douglas suggests that the reporting of the Tower Hamlets foster care case has been shown to be “largely untrue”. We’re not sure that is entirely accurate, although there is certainly more information available than at first sight, some of which supports the proposition that the story was at least incomplete, if not necessarily false in its specific claims. The soon to be published report from Tower Hamlets may or may not advance matters on this front:


IPSO decision on the conduct of a Daily Mail journalist – IPSO published the resolution statement from their investigation following judicial findings in the case of Westminster City Council v H about the conduct of a Daily Mail journalist. The resolution statement indicates that an apology was made to the child as part of a mediated resolution. See our previous blog, Judge flags complaint on behalf of child against journalist who sneaked into hospital for more information:



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