• 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 Daily Mail – Polly Morgan commented on inaccuracies in the Mail Online report, New ten-page online form detailing money and assets they want under plans to streamline the system. See Monetary Madness Misreporting:


The Guardian – We continued our efforts to establish the facts behind a 2017 Guardian report of new measures under trial at Cafcass to prevent ‘parental alienation’, including penalties such as permanent loss of contact. See Cafcass, parental alienation and the law, and subsequent comments there (scroll down):


The Daily MailFamily court judge must explain why pianist jailed, says campaigner was the headline of a Daily Mail report last week.  We have made some enquiries about whether a judgment is, or will be, available and will report further when we have news.


The Times – The Times asked ‘Is there such a thing as a good divorce? (paywall). We commented in Is the law becoming meaner to the poorer spouse?:


The Times – Twitter users responded to inaccuracies in two Times reports:

Mistress fights widow for share of £2.5m will – Seen by many as a misleading headline; with a report neither giving key information, nor linking to the freely available public judgment that did explain this Inheritance Act claim on behalf of a child.  See this twitter thread:


Judge blocks woman’s bid to prevent elderly father marrying – Twitter commentators also questioned the suggestion in this Times report of a secret injunction. A temporary injunction was made to maintain the current position for a week while the dispute transferred to the Court of Protection, where agreement was reached to suspend the wedding until final court decision. The Transparency Guidance does not require publication of judgments from interim decisions but the first of two judgments the Times elect not to link to, references it:


The Sun – Reported Serious Case Review (SCR) findings from the death of Harry House, with a headline inaccurately focused solely on social services: Social services missed chances to stop violent thug who beat two-year-old tot to death.  The SCR itself found missed opportunities across multiple agencies including social services, information sharing failures, and a lack of single agency oversight. It was the Dorset Echo who provided, arguably, the most in depth and balanced report. While BBC News stood out in linking their readers to the SCR:


The Guardian and ITV News – Reported the BASW-backed Adoption Enquiry Report on social work ethics and human rights in adoption, though both inaccurately described the UK as one of only three countries allowing non consensual adoption.  We saw sector responses from BASW, Suespicious Minds, Andy ElvinChild Protection Resource,  Adoption UK; Community Care; ADCS; Family Law Week;  Coram; and Coram-BAAF:


The Daily Mail – ITV interviewed Teddy Hodgkins parents with sensitivity and balance. Several papers then reported that interview without the contextualising information.  Blog to follow on some issues about expert evidence such cases raise. Tweets including here and here:


Transparency Positives

BBC (Stories) – BBC Stories enabled a powerful voice that caught attention. I begged social services to take my children away is one woman’s story of asking for her children to be removed (leading to their adoption) at a time when she was unable to protect herself from abuse, addiction and mental distress; and of her route to recovery, through peer support, after formal substance misuse interventions had not worked for her:


Linker of the week

BBC News – Transparently linked readers directly from their own report to the Serious Case Review it was based it on. (We also saw some helpful transparency about primary sources from the Daily Mail and Guardian):



Coroner’s verdict in respect of the death of Poppi Worthington – The coroner published his report, Review of the evidence, findings and conclusion and we updated our blog and time line accordingly:


A Local Authority v G (Parent with Learning Disability) [2017] EWFC B94 (18 December 2017) – Kisses and cuddles not enough… explains a legally ‘ordinary’ family court decision that prompted a BBC report and twitter debate on whether lack of reasonable support for parents with learning disabilities had lead to adoption. See also this post at Child Protection Resource by Beth Tarleton:



CAFCASS Open Board Meeting – The January 2018 Open Board Meeting entitled Voice of the Child: How to help children’s voices be heard loud and clear throughout the family court process was on Friday 26th January. We attended. Blog to follow.


Crisis in our courts and how to solve it – This Society of Editors Seminar took place at the Telegraph offices on18th January. We attended and reported here . See also twitter threads here and here:


Fit for the future – Later the same day the Ministry of Justice and HMCTS published public consultation in the form of an online survey on proposals to shape future decisions on the court and tribunal estate..as part of the transformation of our justice system. Transform Justice and the Times reported. See also the latest HMCTS Reform Roadshow announced in Birmingham on 29th January:


The Care Crisis Review: Wales – We reported the Welsh roundtable, held on 10th January, within the Care Crisis Review on the reasons for, and solutions to, the rise in numbers of children in care and going through the courts. See The sector-led review into the rise in care applications and number of children in care: Wales


The Care Crisis Review: Surveys – The Family Rights Group launched separate online surveys for families and professionals to contribute to the Review. The deadline is Sunday 11th February:


Publishing to Protect: When to do the counter-intuitive – A London Resolution hosted seminar touching on the recent Tower Hamlets case. Free to social workers and Guardians:



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