Welcome to the latest Roundup, where we correct, clarify and comment on media reports of family court cases, explain and comment on published family court judgments and highlight other transparency news
MEDIA COVERAGE OF FAMILY COURT MATTERS
The Independent and others – Reported outdated judicial views about domestic abuse and consent to sex, aired in a mother’s successful appeal last December. Most news outlets reported publication of the judgment that then revealed quite how badly things had gone wrong. Alexandra Wilson summarised the judgment. Lucy Reed summarised some of the responses. (The Transparency Project have produced a plain English guide to how the family courts should treat domestic abuse and harm):
BBC One, Silent Witness (7 Times) – Also tackled how the family courts manage child arrangements in a story line seemingly featuring un-evidenced (though not necessarily untrue) allegations of domestic abuse by coercive control. Malvika Jaganmohan commented in “I hurt you because I love you”:
ITV, Coronation Street – Jack Harrison asked whether Coronation Street had unhelpfully played to public fears of social workers arbitrarily removing children in response to false allegations. See Losing Hope – Soaps and child protection storylines:
BBC Radio 4, Behind Closed Doors – Brought some of the nuance and complexity of family (and court of protection) court decision-making to the public, with no loss of drama, in a new series of legal docu-drama’s from Clara Glynn. See also Glynn’s blog post here about how she writes and researches court dramas. Polly Morgan reviewed the second of five plays featuring separating parents of children brought up in an ultra orthodox Jewish community. More reviews to follow:
BBC Wales – Reported a decision to hear part of secure accommodation order proceedings in open court to highlight the impact of secure accommodation shortages on traumatised, vulnerable young people. We’re keeping an eye out for a published judgment.
Link-tastic (as opposed to Linkless)
The Guardian – Linked online Opinion readers to the published family court judgment from a mother’s successful appeal against ‘the Tolson judgment’ (see above):
Media outlets, press officers and legal firms – Tony Roe commented on the myth of Divorce Day and how it’s perpetuated in The perennial pantomime of ‘Divorce D Day’?:
NEWLY PUBLISHED CASES
S-P (FGM: fact finding) (July 2018); S-P (Re-opening and fact finding) (May 2019); and S-P (Welfare) (July 2019) – Judge Carol Atkinson published judgments charting the course of care proceedings and concurrent criminal proceedings, involving female genital mutilation. Read together, they explain why she maintained finding’s implicating the child’s father (alongside the mother), despite new evidence heard in the criminal court who acquitted him. (See also May 2019 press reports here and here).
B & C (Children: Child Arrangements Order)  EWFC B100 (18 December 2018) and A (A Child: Flawed Placement Application)  EWFC B2 (10 January 2020) – Lucy Reed flagged the value of published judgments from District Bench level decisions (where the majority of fact finding hearings about domestic abuse, parental alienation etc take place) for understanding of what routinely occurs in the family court. And commented on a decision not to name a court appointed expert. See Two Judgments Published And a Couple of Thoughts:
Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust v Namiq  EWHC 5 (Fam) and  EWHC 6 (Fam) – Paul Magrath explained treatment and publication decisions in response to the tragic situation of baby Midrar. See “Brain dead” babies – how and why the court decides doctors can withdraw life support.
A (Children) (Contact: Ultra-Orthodox Judaism: Transgender Parent)  EWFC 3 (20 January 2020) – Emily Boardman summarised a short new judgment in the context of earlier proceedings, in Contact, Ultra-Orthodox Judaism, and a Transgender Parent:
JK v MK & Anor  EWFC 2 (20 January 2020) – Polly Morgan commented on Mostyn J’s decision about the business model of Amicable. See Legal divorce and amicable ancillaries:
Re G  EWFC B70 (13 June 2019) – Alexandra Wilson explained a judgment published to promote learning from a council’s errors in separating siblings with a court care plan for staying together. (See also Lucy Reed here on the decision not to name the expert):
D (Fact-finding appeal)  EWCA Civ 2302 (20 December 2019) – Lucy Reed discussed a Court of Appeal decision that the facts behind injuries to a 5 year old girl should be considered afresh for a third time despite delay. See One appeal, Two Bakers and Three tries at a fact finding:
EF, GH, IJ (care proceedings)  EWFC 75 (06 December 2019) – Suesspicious Minds explained council failures to comply with Achieving Best Evidence guidance from this decision that a father had not abused his children, though their mother had emotionally abused them (short of ‘parental alienation’).
Raqeeb v Barts Health NHS Trust (Costs)  EWHC 3322 (Fam) (03 December 2019) – Emma Nottingham explained the High Court’s decision about costs from proceedings about Tafida Raqeeb, that she reported previously from as a legal blogger:
IN OTHER TRANSPARENCY NEWS
Live streaming of family court appeals (and sentencing remarks from criminal trials) – We commented on reports of an MOJ announcement and speech from the Master of the Rolls to the UK Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists:
NEW from alternate (Leveson compliant) regulator, Impress – An interview with Transparency Project Chair, Lucy Reed, and podcast interview with Transparency Project member and freelance journalist Louise Tickle, on reporting the family courts:
Another Government response to the Cairncross review on the future of journalism – The response is here. We hope to comment.
Free E learning for young people on the courts and judiciary – 3RD FEBRUARY 2020 – New online course starts (with later catch up available).
Privatisation, Marketisation and Children’s Social Care: Concerns and Potential Solutions Discussion Event – 23RD APRIL 2020 – Free, Sheffield based event with limited places. Ticket requests here.
Law Via the Internet Conference – 15/16TH SEPTEMBER 2020 – Information and booking for this Conference on Legal Information and Access to Justice, hosted by Bailii and IALS, is here.
Seen something to go in the next Roundup or that you’d like us to write about? Send it to email@example.com
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The Transparency Project is a registered charity in England & Wales run largely by volunteers who also have full-time jobs. We’re working hard to secure extra funding so that we can keep making family justice clearer for all who use the court and work within it. We’d be really grateful if you were able to help us by making a small one-off (or regular!) donation through our Just Giving page. You can find our page, and further information here.
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