• 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 – 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:


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:


The TimesReported 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.


Transparency Positive

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:


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):



The Daily Mail – Reported the High Court decision from IX v IY [2018] 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:



K (A Child) [2018] – 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:



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 info@transparencyproject.org.uk / coordinator@transparencyproject.org.uk)


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:


Who Knows What About Me – We responded to the new report from the children’s commissioner in Call for Greater Transparency for Generation Tagged:


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).


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’.


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