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
MEDIA (MIS)REPORTS OF FAMILY COURT CASES
The Times – Blog to follow on Surrogate Mothers Could be Allowed to Charge Cash from the Times. In the meantime, see A call for legal reform in surrogacy at Stowe Family Law Blog and some twitter responses:
Misleading headlines are not helpful and this one certainly doesn’t represent what my research has found (or the position of the law commission I hope). Use of the word ‘could’ isn’t enough! https://t.co/Hd5TXyunMO @Law_Commission @scotlawcom @SurrogacyUKorg @BioNewsUK
— Kirsty Horsey (@khorsey) November 15, 2018
— BioNews (@BioNewsUK) November 15, 2018
The Mirror – Armstrong Family Law called out the Mirror’s misleading headline, Couples will soon be able to pick up a quickie divorce for £300 – at the Co-op:
This rubbish really grinds my gears. Completely misleading:
1. What about court fee of £550?
2. There is no such thing as a quickie divorce, even if wealthy.
3. No mention of cost of resolving finances.
4. What is the relevance of Cheryl Tweedy's divorce?https://t.co/CF20bFagtM
— Armstrong Family Law (@JonArmstrongLaw) November 16, 2018
The Times – Reported a fresh application by Talia Belaid’s mother for return of her now 7 year old, abducted as a baby by her father, to the paternal grandmother in Libya. We’ll keep an eye out for a judgment from any final decision, (or from the previous family and criminal proceedings). BBC Wales reported in detail here last month.
Buzzfeed – Emily Dugan’s report, This Is How Parents Cope In Court With No Lawyer When Access To Their Kids Is At Stake powerfully conveyed the human and financial cost of stripping legal aid from parents in family court disputes about children (ahead of the government publishing their review of LASPO). The detail of the judge’s efforts to help vulnerable parents cross- examine each other in any sort of fair and meaningful process, was particularly illuminating. Such detail of what’s gone on in front of the judge rarely surfaces in press reports unless journalists apply successfully to lift automatic restrictions on reporting it. The report also featured analysis of the new family court figures; a link to them for readers; and a simple, transparent correction where one was required:
This is what it's like trying to make your own case (and hold it together) during one of the hardest times in your life https://t.co/WQF4pYnIPj
— Emily Dugan (@emilydugan) November 9, 2018
Fantastic access to a private law family court hearing – @emilydugan got reporting restrictions lifted for this very full account which demonstrates the total mess that’s resulted from legal aid cuts. This is why we need transparency in family courts. https://t.co/ApYvAXoQs6
— Louise Tickle (@louisetickle) November 9, 2018
Good to have confirmation that MoJ Review of LASPO will be published by end of year. Solid feeling around HoL that urgent change vital. Offered Bach Commission recommendations so that worst excesses of Part 1 can go quickly. A lot at stake! #BachCommission.
— Willy Bach (@FightBach) November 12, 2018
Linker of the Week
The Guardian – Patrick Butler (Social Policy Editor) linked online readers from his report, Labour blames cuts as number of children in care rises again, to the figures themselves (and the ADCS Director’s speech), while providing analysis, graphics and context. (See also Children’s services: why spending now will pay off in the future):
Big thanks to @patrickjbutler @guardian for not just analysing the new DfE looked after child figures but also linking online readers to those published figures and the ADCS president's speech: https://t.co/69yuQvtrmF
— transparency project (@seethrujustice) November 16, 2018
The Daily Mail – Reported the High Court decision from IX v IY  as if the judgment had been privately made available to them, rather than anonymised and published online for free public access. See Who Keeps the Dogs in a Divorce by Polly Morgan too, on the wider issue of how pets are treated in law on divorce:
It's an interesting case but the dogs are (from a legal perspective) the least interesting bit tho' no doubt v important to the parties. Suggestion of mediation possibly indicates unhappy to treat dogs just as chattel: see my February 2018 OUP blog: https://t.co/p7nAmY8hkP
— Polly Morgan (@pollyemorgan) November 14, 2018
NEWLY PUBLISHED CASES FOR EXPLANATION OR COMMENT
K (A Child)  – Suespicious Minds explained this mother’s successful appeal to the Court of Appeal, against a decision to remove the baby living at home with her under a care order on an interim basis when things went wrong. See When is Immediate not Immediate:
When is immediate not immediate? https://t.co/6iarjbdPyN
— suesspicious minds (@suesspiciousmin) November 14, 2018
IN OTHER TRANSPARENCY NEWS
The impact of LASPO – We featured another great guest post this week. See Jess Mant discussing her research on the impact of LASPO on self-representing litigants in the family court (ahead of publication of the crucial government review) in Shut out of the Process: Litigants’ Experiences in the post-LASPO Family Court. (The Transparency Project welcomes guest posts. Contact us, if interested, via twitter or at email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org)
Great way to round off the week is to have the chance to write a guest post for @seethrujustice – read on for (even) more about my take on #LASPO and LIPs! @publiclawprojct @LiPsstrategy https://t.co/mEUiX26mav
— Jess Mant (@JessMant1) November 16, 2018
Mckenzie Friends – We summarised H (Children : exclusion of Mackenzie friend) 2017(which re-appeared rather oddly at bailii.org.uk), flagged the continuing lack of resolution since the 2016 consultation, and linked to practical resources for litigants in person. See McKenzie Friends: Getting help in court if you don’t have – or don’t want – a lawyer:
'McKenzie Friends: Getting help in court if you don’t have – or don’t want – a lawyer' by @SVPhillimore : https://t.co/q29yjtZ05l On the 2017 case of H (Children: exclusion of Mackenzie friend) & (the still unresolved) issues it illustrates @nearlylegal @BAILII @LauraCIemens pic.twitter.com/f3VlJuCRWB
— transparency project (@seethrujustice) November 16, 2018
Who Knows What About Me – We responded to the new report from the children’s commissioner in Call for Greater Transparency for Generation Tagged:
'Call for Greater Transparency for Generation Tagged': @EmmaCNottingham responds to the @ChildrensComm report, 'Who Knows What About Me?' for @seethrujustice : https://t.co/ccSELHVIlc pic.twitter.com/k3Eo9jnEAq
— transparency project (@seethrujustice) November 12, 2018
The Lord Chief Justice’s report – We commented on the Lord Chief Justice’s Annual Report in Low morale, dilapidated buildings and ever increasing workload: why the Lord Chief Justice is concerned for the judiciary. (See also Richard Susskind here, as reported at Legal Futures).
Low morale, dilapidated buildings and ever increasing workload: why the Lord Chief Justice is concerned for the judiciary. My note on the LCJ Report 2018 for @seethrujustice blog https://t.co/Yt8uGfqqhD
— Paul Magrath (@Maggotlaw) November 16, 2018
Allegations of domestic abuse: are family courts working for children & families? – Thursday’s panel discussion at Gresham College at 6pm, is fully booked. But the new guidance note we’re launching will be on our website from the 22nd of November and the event itself will be filmed and uploaded to our site. Please let us know if you booked and won’t now be attending as we are still getting enquiries. We are sorry but we are not able to refund donations made to the Transparency Project when reserving a place. See information and ground rules here too:
Transparently improving the evidence base of social care and family justice decision making –
The What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care – Published an exploratory analysis of rates of looked after children (England) as the basis for their next steps to establish (as a priority) what works to safely reduce care numbers. Sign up for research updates here:
The Nuffield Observatory – Announced that Sir James Munby, former President of the Family Courts, will chair their new Board and lead an open recruitment process for non-excecutive board members including those with expertise in ‘engagement’.
New evidence here on LA variation in care rates. Building on @PaulBywaters's @CWIP_Research it notes strong link to poverty, but it’s fresh evidence as it looks at change in poverty and change in care rates over time (rather than one point in time only).
— Jonathan Scourfield (@ProfJScourfield) November 15, 2018
We're delighted to have appointed Sir James Munby as Chair of the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory.
— Nuffield Foundation (@NuffieldFound) November 14, 2018
Feature pic: Courtesy of Flickr Lauri Heikkinen via Creative Commons licence – with thanks