• 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 and the Telegraph  Polly Morgan explained the scheme behind the headlines in A New Financial Court of the Super Wealthy?, and commented on the headline choices (Divorce courts for super-rich win cautious welcome from lawyers and New courts planned to hear super-wealthy battle over finances):

The Guardian / Cafcass It blew up too soon for usCafcass Explain their position on alienation is our attempt to get to the bottom of media reports of “groundbreaking” new initiatives at Cafcass in responding to ‘parental alienation’. See the Guardian on 17th November for the initial report Divorcing parents could lose children if they try to turn them against partner. Followed by reports in the Independent, the Sun, the Yorkshire Post and the Daily Mail.  There are also some interesting comments in response to our blog (scroll down from here). We aim to update with new developments as they arise:

The Sun / The Times – Reported the results of a freedom of information request to councils on trans-religious foster care placements, under a headline focused on just how many Christian children have been fostered by Muslims.

They also linked to their own earlier report that wrongly claimed that a child placed with Muslim foster parents by Tower Hamlets council, was removed by the judge in vindication of her mother’s complaints as reported by the Times.

The initial Sun headline, 101 Christian Children Fostered By Muslims, morphed overnight into Crisis of Faith: Approximately 394 Muslim foster kids placed with Christian families – and 101 Christians kids placed with Muslims but prompted twitter criticism from parts of the family justice sector. Including questions about a decision taken by IPSO not to investigate complaints about the original Times article in the child’s interests. IPSO declined to look into the matter because of “the effect … this coverage may have on those involved in the case, and particularly the child”, We don’t understand what this means, because the whole point of correcting inaccurate press reporting is to rebalance the coverage with the truth, and individuals are often anonymised in IPSO findings.

(See also Transparency News below on developments on press regulation for the wider context within which these articles sit).

The Guardian In contrast this Guardian report last Sunday explored the contribution made by dedicated foster carers across ethnic and religious boundaries, through the perspective of two muslim foster parents describing their approach to religion and culture for the children they fostered. It attracted universal twitter approval from across the family justice sector:

The Guardian /The Express and Star – The Guardian also withdrew an initial headline last week. Children removed from family home over parents ‘open’ relationship contributes to neglect, was replaced overnight with Children removed from family home after parents open relationship‘ contributes to neglect [our emphasis]. Not before several papers unhelpfully followed, including the Express and Star inaccurately claiming Parents open relationship sees children put up for adoptionThe published family court judgment (the Express and Star don’t link to) makes clear that it was not an ‘open relationship’ at all and had no significance of itself in the court’s decision. The Guardian twitter heading Children removed from family home over parents ‘open’ relationship remains online:


 Transparency Positives

The Guardian  – Will Storrs’ long read We believe you harmed your child’: the war over shaken baby convictions:

Emily Dugan – With a compilation Access to Justice page of her in-depth reports on legal aid cuts and their impact on access to justice, including for families;

Linker of the Week

Olivia Rudgard at The Telegraph – Once again this week, Olivia Rudgard linked to the primary source material she was reporting about the family justice system. (See also our above commentary on the headline the Telegraph chose for her otherwise accurate article):

Owen Bowcott at The GuardianOwen Bowcott also linked readers with the published family court judgment from PQR (Children), Re [2017] EWFC B86 this week. (See above for commentary on the Guardian’s choice of headline):


HRS Louis Xavier Marie Guillaume Prince of Luxembourg, Prince of Nassau and Prince of Bourbon-Parma v HRH Tessy Princess of Luxembourg, Princess of Nassau and Princess of Bourbon-Parma & Anor [2017] EWHC 3095 (Fam) (05 December 2017) – Blog to follow we hope, on this High Court decision:

H (A Child: Surrogacy Breakdown) [2017] EWCA – Emma Nottingham explained this Court of Appeal decision in Surrogacy arrangement breakdown: surrogate ordered to hand child over to intended parents:

S v S [2017] EWHC 3184 (Fam) (12 July 2017) – Legally ordinary but important judgment:


Privacy versus accountability in the family courts – Sarah Phillimore reflected on Tuesday’s debate hosted by the Transparency Project in Privacy versus Accountability in the Family Courts: Some Thoughts.  The Transparency Project also belatedly ‘launched’ their practice guidance note, to support families and professionals with publication of family court judgments, in advance of formal guidance anticipated from the President. The debate can already be viewed on Youtube here:

The Family Justice Council – Published the transcript and podcast from the recent Debate and Discussion on the court’s role in sanctioning or withdrawing children’s medical treatment:

Press Regulation  IPSO launched a new low cost libel dispute resolution process. The Chair of the Commons Media Select Committee responded here. A Press Gazette report is here. The second annual Press Recognition Panel (PRP) report calling for immediate implementation of Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, to deliver the system of regulation intended by Parliament after the Leveson Inquiry swiftly followed. (A Press Gazette report on that is here). For more on both, see ICLR’s accessible Weekly Notes by Paul Magrath (also of the Transparency Project):

The new social work regulator, Social Work England – Commentary at community care  on the recruitment campaign for the new regulator, Social Work England, due to replace the HCPC by Spring 2019.

Accreditation of social workers -The Department of Education published its response to the consultation on the assessment and accreditation system for social workers. Community Care and BASW respond here and here to this report, Confidence in practice:

Local News – The BBC announced the outcome of bids for funding for local democracy reporters across the UK. See reports at Hold the Front Page, the BBC and the Press Gazette, among others:

Media Litigation – A New Strategy.  Paul Magrath reported on Mr Justice Warby’s appointment to, and management of, the new Media and Communications List in the High Court.  The Transparency Project responded to Warby J’s consultation here, and have since attended the first meeting of the newly created Media and Communications Litigation Users Group (MACLUG):

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