• 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 Express – On Monday the Express ran this story:  Elderly dementia sufferer’s fortune goes to National Trust even though he DESPISES them – A TYCOON’S £5.5million fortune is to be inherited by the National Trust even though he despises the charity – because he has dementia and cannot change his will.  In a week that has featured transparency through tweets and live-tweets, we commented by way of Barbara Rich’s twitter thread here. We’ve yet to see a published judgment. (See also Where there’s a will, there’s a way at the Small Places blog-site, on the consultation at the Law Commission on reform of the procedure for making a lawful will):


Linker of the Week

The Times (the Brief) – Moderated and published our comment (sent to them on 21st October) in response to their article, Divorcing parents using secret recordings in battle for custody, says Sir James Munby (20th October).  The article didn’t signpost or link readers to the judgment of B (A Child) it was based upon (published 18th October at www.bailii.org). Hopefully if we do need to link readers to judgments through the comments section in the future, they will be moderated through contemporaneously to be of most use. The Times emailed us on 26th October, to let us know our comment had been published. The comment now reads online as if published on 21st October. (See also newly published cases below for discussion of the judgment itself):




Transparency positives

Interracial fostering: The Perfect Match? – In the wake of the much criticised front page news report, Christian Child Forced Into Muslim Foster Care in the Times, the Victoria Derbyshire show explored trans racial/religious foster placements last week. Featuring Rebecca Brown (among others) – a white British 18 year old, still living with her long-term muslim foster parents of Pakistani origin, Ashley J Baptiste‘s report for BBC News is here, with BBC2 Victoria Derbyshire show report available on catch up here:

BuzzFeed –  Sustained in depth reporting by Emily Dugan on legal aid and justice (including family law) before, during and after the Justice Secretary David Lidlington gave evidence to the House of Commons Justice Select Committee on Wednesday. See The Tory MP Who Chairs The Justice Committee Says The Government Went Too Far When It Cut Legal Aid; live tweeting from the House of Commons @EmilyDugan twitter feed; and The Government Says It Is Finally Going To Review The Impact Of Its Legal Aid Cuts:



Covert Recording : A hot potato lob by the Court of Appeal – We commented on the President’s judgment from B (A Child), Court of Appeal, on a first instance decision by His Honour Judge Bellamy, featuring ‘covert recording’. The blog is here. We’ve also seen brief reports in the Times (The Brief above), and at Family Law,  Family Law Week and Marilyn Stowe:



Louise Tickle (journalist and Transparency Project member) live-tweeted from the HCPC fitness to practise hearing of a social worker subject to judicial findings of serious misconduct earlier in the year. We ‘storified’ her experience in Transparency at the social work regulator: @louisetickle live-tweets from @The_HCPC‘ STORIFY UPDATED. The hearing appears to have now been adjourned part-heard, after 5 days evidence, on grounds of insufficient time. It is suggested that it will next be listed for hearing in March 2018. We’ll update the ‘storify’ shortly to reflect this and continuing discussions:


Should Privacy Trump Accountability –  Tickets went on sale yesterday at Eventbrite for this Bristol-based debate on 5 December, to mark the launch of our Guidance Note: Publication of Family Court Judgments. Chaired by His Honour Judge Stephen Wildblood QC, the Panel includes the Honourable Mr Justice Baker Gretchen Precey (Chair NAGALRO), Sophie Ayers (Independent Social Worker, formerly statutory services), Louise Tickle (Freelance journalist),Andrew Pack (Suesspicious Minds blog, Local Authority lawyer), Callum May (BBC News Producer), Hannah Markham QC (barrister). The event is for anyone with an interest in social work, journalism, or in family law and justice. You do not have to be a lawyer, a social worker or a journalist to attend. You might be a care leaver, a parent or just an interested member of the public. What do you think about the balance between privacy for children and accountability of those who intervene in the lives of families?


Happy families, the conversations we’re not having about adoption: London by Pamela Neil, featuring Child Protection Resource author (and Transparency Project member) Sarah Phillimore – The London leg of this unique oral performance installation stimulating debate on some  issues associated with child protection and adoption took place on Saturday . Blog update to follow at Child Protection Resource:


His Honour Judge Wildblood on parental alienation –  His observations to a recent conference hosted by Families Need Fathers are now available online for those who didn’t attend the conference. We understand that records of other talks, including that of Anthony Douglas of Cafcass will follow when possible:

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