• 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


NSPCC – We followed up blog discussions (here and here), on use of the word disclosure (triggered by an NSPCC survey). We emailed the NSPCC and discussed their response in Things children say – Disclosure, allegations and why language matters. Twitter conversations continued, including here, herehere, and here. (See also the Guardian on intermediaries facilitating evidence from children as young as two in family and criminal proceedings):


The Mail and the Mirror – The Mail (followed by the Mirror) seemed to think headlines referring to the court decision to permit withdrawal of Alfie Evan’s ventilation as a High Court ‘death sentence’ / ‘death penalty’ decision were balanced, and in the public interest, when reporting the dismay and plans to appeal of the parents. Neither let their readers know there was a published judgment released the day before let alone linked to it.

The Daily Mail – Reported apparent public interest issues arising from a court of protection case (via the press association). We hope to provide some analysis if a judgment is published:


The Press Association – Reported apparent transparency issues from the preliminary hearing of an appeal from protracted contact proceedings, before the President. We hope to offer some analysis if a judgment is published:


Transparency Positive

The Sun – Reported the government plan to consult before introducing the Domestic Violence Bill. Isabel Hardman (Assistant Editor of the Spectator and presenter of Radio 4’s Week in Westminster) was transparent about source,  short of actually linking to Prime Minister’s Questions (Brief response to Angela Smith MP’s question at 17.33). See also the Times today:


The Bureau Local – Announced 2018 funds for journalists, freelancers and local people to investigate untold stories in their communities, and called for applications by 7th March:


 Linker (of the fortnight)

The BBC linked readers to the published serious case review that was the source of this report:



We’ve seen no other links to family court judgments or other children’s social care and family justice primary sources reported. (Don’t hesitate to let us know if we’ve missed one):



The TimesReported the Supreme Court decision stopping a Russian billionaire (with connections to Putin) appealing from a Court of Appeal decision that upheld an order lifting a reporting restriction (that the Times had opposed). We explain in On Her Majesty’s Secret [Court] Service, or ‘Billionaire Putin crony loses right to secrecy in Britain’:


R (Children) [2018] EWCA Civ 198 (16 February 2018) – In Fact Finding hearings and criminal law we explained the judgment, from a court of appeal decision on the approach the family court should take to decide background facts where a crime may have been committed. See also Unlawful Killing at Suespicious Minds:


M (A Child) [2018] EWCA Civ 240 (20 February 2018) – A Court of Appeal decision that left a party, who had successfully appealed against a decision not to revoke care and placement orders, to pay her own substantial costs. We explained in Mum wins appeal about her child’s potential adoption but still has to pay her own legal costs – why?:


Barton v Wright Hassal LLP [2018] UKSC 12 (21 February 2018) – The judgment was published from a Supreme Court decision which considered the proper limits of judicial flexibility towards litigants in person. See comment at the Law Society Gazette. (Also a related thread on the continuing absence of response to the consultation on Mckenzie Friends for litigants in person. Blog to follow on that):


Re J (A Child – Intractable Contact) [2017] EWFC B103 (19 December 2017) – Judgment from a legally ‘ordinary’ family court decision by HHJ Bellamy to permit a Father to withdraw his contact application. There’s a brief report on the brief judgment at Marilyn Stowe site here:


J (Adoption: Appeal) [2018] EWFC 8 (13 February 2018) – Cobb J set aside an adoption order (step parent), on the basis that the social worker, Cafcass Officer and Court were misled about the whereabouts of the biological father. Reported at Family Law.


Williams and another (Appellants) v London Borough of Hackney (Respondent): UKSC 2017/0037 – The Supreme Court heard the parent’s appeal against this Court of Appeal decision on their Human Rights Act claim.  We’ll update our blog (and Section 20 Guide) once the judgment, with anticipated guidance on S.20 and ‘consent’ etc, is published:



Cafcass Open Board Meeting (Voice of the Child) – We commented, including on the new Voice of the child app under construction here:


Cafcass high conflict pathway – We were invited to take part in an informal ‘consultation’ on the proposed new high conflict pathway we wrote about (most recently) here:


The Nuffield Family Justice Observatory – The Nuffield published detailed next steps on vital plans to radically improve use of data & research in decision making about children across the family justice system, including Cafcass:


The consultation on the legal framework for the new social work regulator (Social Work England) – The consultation . closes on the 21st March. NAGALRO have transparently published theirs here. See also Community Care here on the NAGALRO press release, Politically controlled social work regulator threatens to breach Human Rights Act.


Online courts  – Joshua Rozenberg QC updated on key aspects of the modernisation programme for criminal and civil  courts and concern about plans to shift the administration of justice from the independent judiciary to gov.uk. His Gresham College lecture, is available here:


Press regulation etc

Impess lecture on the future of regulation in the digital era:

Impress offered a vision for a constructive response to social media ‘disruption’ of traditional news gathering and publication, and the government review on press sustainability. The lecture went largely unreported, even by the Press Gazette, but you can read it in full here


Politicisation of news, and press (and social media) regulation intensified:

See, for example the Sun here, and analysis at the Independent, the Guardianthe New Statesman, Open Democracy UK, the Guardian again. See also BBC Radio 4’s the Death of a Local Newspaper? (and BBC News), the Independent and Guardian and Inforrm on social media regulation.


CP Conference 2018 – Tickets are now available at eventbrite for CP Conference 2018, 15th September 2018, on future risk of emotional harm:


The Family Rights Group announced the Bridget Lindley Memorial Lecture 2018 on press reporting of the family courts – The lecture, by Louise Tickle (award winning freelance journalist and also Transparency Project member) is on 9th 13th [corrected after publication] March 2018 in Birmingham:


Dealing with sex abuse: how does the family court assess risk? – A Gresham College lecture by Jo Delahunty QC on 1st March 2018:


The Law Society Society early advice campaign (including family law) continues – There’s still an opportunity to use this online option to write quickly to your MP in support:


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