• 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



Community Care  – In the lead-up to the Transparency Project debate in Bristol, we reflected on Community Care articles about social work representation in mainstream media, including the Times.  See Who protects the social workers? Our thoughts on some media coverage of child death cases & items in @communitycare, in response to BASW attacks media after death threats against social workers named in articles, and ‘This targeting of social workers and managers echoes the reaction to Baby P’ by Ray Jones, in Community Care:


Social Work Tutor – Moving from the portrayal of social workers in some mainstream news media, to representation of service users on a well-known social media blog, see The Truth about Social Work Tutor at Pink Tape by Lucy Reed @Familoo (also Chair of the Transparency Project), with twitter threads  here and here:


The Times – Aspects of the Times campaign to reform divorce law inspired accusations of misoginy. See Catherine Lafferty in the New Statesman on Friday with The Times campaign to “modernise” divorce law is an attack on women on spousal maintenance proposals that are supported by the Times. The focus by Monday (including Times Letters) was back on cohabitants’ rights and no-fault divorce, reforms almost universally supported in the family justice sector, as well as large sections of the public:



The Guardian –  This Guardian report, Is contact with parents always best? Child mental health study challenges convention, attracted twitter comment on whether it’s really likely to accurately reflect any nuanced findings of the study and what the limits of the ‘study’ might be anyway. The Guardian don’t link to it nor give any information about where /when it will be published. They variously call it a ‘a child mental health study and an annual Grandparents Plus survey. (Grandparents Plus do say on their website here that the findings of their state of the nation annual survey will be released at the Re-Imagining Kinship Care conference on 30th November):



The Guardian – Also with reference to press reports that don’t specify or link to primary source material or explain when these will be published, we haven’t forgotten to comment on last week’s Guardian report Divorcing parents could lose children if they try to turn them against partner. That piece reported significant new draft guidelines for Cafcass Officers on how to deal with cases involving suspected parental alienation behaviours and a ‘groundbreaking’ trial of the new measures. We are still investigating before commenting. (Cafcass in the meantime have tweeted as follows):


Transparency Positives

Emily Dugan at BuzzFeed – On the financial case for early legal advice including in family law, with Legal Aid Cuts Have Ended Up Costing The Taxpayer Money Because Disputes Spiral. Her report is based on Restoring state-funding for early legal advice could save cash published the following by the Law Society:




The County Council of the City and County of Cardiff -v- Matthew Scully-Hicks and Others – We explained Mr Justice Moor’s 2016 decision on the facts about Elsie’s death and their relevance for the care of her older adoptive sibling, upon publication following the criminal trial. See Elsie Scully-Hicks – Family Court Judgment Released:


ZS -v- FS (Application to Prevent Solicitor Acting) [2017] EWHC 2660 (Fam) (24 October 2017) – David Burrows discussed anonynmity, transparency and proportionality issues from a judgment explaining the refusal of a husband’s application for an order that the solicitor, Raymond Tooth, be ‘debarred’ from acting for the wife in divorce proceedings. See Secrecy and disproportionality in the family courts


M (A Child : secure accommodation order) [2017] EWHC 3021 (Fam) – We tweeted an extract from this judgment about good social work practice and have now asked Support BAILII‏ @BAILII for information about its apparent subsequent disappearence:



Dodgy drug test results – what should I do? – We explained the Ministry of Justice announcement about potentially unreliable forensic toxicology tests for those worried they might be affected in connection with a family court case:


The court’s role in sanctioning medical treatment and the withdrawal of medical treatment of children: “Parental autonomy and a child’s best interests: Should the courts have the final say?” – We blogged here on last Tuesday’s Family Justice Council Debate on disputed medical treatment cases about children, to provide a flavour for those unable to attend:


Covert recordings in family proceedings (Re B (A Child)) – a subjective determination for judges – This short post at the National Independent Reviewing Officer Managers Partnership alerts Independent Reviewing Officers and their managers to the case of  Re B (A Child) [2017] EWCA Civ with links to Family Law Week, the Transparency Project Guidance and new practice guidance from Leeds Safeguarding Children Board:


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