• 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





Public statements from the family court and the children’s father in ‘the Samantha Baldwin case’




The medical treatment order decision in the High Court about baby Charlie Gard

We wrote briefly about Charlie’s situation and the court application in High Court to decide future of very ill baby.

Emma Nottingham, member of the  of the Transparency Project discussed the case on Radio 5 Live last Thursday (1:37:50) and the Victoria Derbyshire Show this morning (01:22:51)

This afternoon the court is due to hear the judge’s decision as to whether Charlie Gard’s treatment will be withdrawn. Charlie Gard, born on 4 August 2016, has a rare genetic condition known as mitochondrial muscle depletion. He is deaf, blind and unable to breathe without a ventilator.  The medical profession have recommended that Charlie’s life support be withdrawn. His parents are disputing this decision. They have raised over £1.2 million to take Charlie to the US where he can have experimental treatment which might help his brain function. This difficult decision is now the responsibility of the High Court. The court’s judgment is likely to discuss what it considers to be in Charlie’s best interests and weigh up any potential benefit that Charlie may receive from flying to the US against the burden that this will impose on him.

Some of the evidence given to the hearing last week by Charlie’s parents, medical experts and court appointed guardian has been reported including at:



Twitter reports this morning that Randy Work has lost his appeal to the Court of Appeal



See our blog on the earlier stage of this case: Genius from another planet? Update to follow



Reports of the financial settlement on divorce of Pauline Chai and Dr Kooh Kay Peng

  • The Telegraph reported Ms Chai’s lawyers saying the case emphasised that there is no place in England for discrimination between home maker and bread winner.

Prompting a twitter question as to how that stacked up with the headline that Homemaker’ ex-wife of Laura Ashley boss wins a third of his £200m fortune after bitter divorce battle


  • While the Times headline: Beauty queen wins £64m divorce from Laura Ashley boss inspired this comment: Another attention grabbing headline.  The fact that she won a beauty competition in 1969 is not relevant.  A more suitable headline would have been ‘Wife of 42 years wins £64m…”


Bodey J’s judgement was published late yesterday, long after most press reports were published. It is here:



Moneybox with a useful phone in on financial issues when relationships end


The Huffington Post and the Brief on the urgent need for divorce law reform


Divorce laws create ‘bidding war’ of anger 


The Times (the Brief) on the continuing vulnerability of cohabiting partners with Cohabiting couples believe in common law marriage 

The Transparency Project have been developing a guide for cohabiting families, pending law reform. In the meantime we have spotted this guide: Mythbusting the Common Law Marriage published at Family Law Hub.



Several papers reported a judicial decision that children living with a mother opposed to their vaccination should be vaccinated

The Telegraph with Vegan mother forced to vaccinate children in High Court ruling 

The Mirror with Vegan mum who won’t give her children medicines like Calpol is ordered to vaccinate them by court 

Neither report referenced (let alone linked) to the published judgment of His Honour Judge Mark Rogers BC v EF they were based on.  While both reports wrongly reported the decision as being made in the Court of Protection. Whilst the judgment was plainly marked as made in the family court, it was initially filed in the wrong place by bailii.org who efficiently moved it upon request of the Transparency Project.


Media coverage of the wife beating ‘cricketer’ sentenced to prison once the true evidence about his claimed mitigation emerged

We featured this in last weeks round up as an example of the importance of informed journalists on the ground in criminal and family courts alike. See Secret Barrister update:


See also The mysterious case of the vanishing court reporter at the Justice Gap on the pressing topic of a decline in local news reporting and the impact on the public interest here:



A Telegraph report about parents recording in the context of disputes about children

‘Custody alert’: We’ve asked the journalist to consider amending her use of the outdated, incorrect and unhelpful term:


Media reports we found notably balanced, accurate or otherwise helpful to transparency this week:

Three thoughtful media reports on the Serious Case Review published by Bristol Safeguarding Children’s Board in relation to Charlotte Bevan killing herself and her newborn baby – that also link readers to the SCR report itself:


The reports contrast with others that seem to sensationalize one aspect of a nuanced report into a headline, without even then linking to the full SCR report:



The Press Release with links to the full Serious Case Review report is here



And in case you missed this:





A highly unusual case in which a flawed judicial decision exposed the Lord Chancellor to a claim for damages:


Blog to follow




The published judgment of Peter Jackson J’s decision on Befordshire Councils application to commit a child’s grandmother. She was arrested and remanded in custody for two nights. Media reports included the Daily Mail with Grandmother, 53, who refused to help social workers find her three-year-old grandchild is held in prison for two days after council bosses said she was in contempt of court We featured the case in round up and said we’d comment further if we saw a judgment. Blog to follow.



This judgment from a Father’s unsuccessful application to the Supreme Court has been extensively reported, for example, the Law Society Gazette with father loses term time holiday battle at supreme court and The Times in The Brief with Father loses Supreme Court battle over term-time holiday 





Last weeks Transparency Project media event and launch of a media guide:

The media guide:

The ‘storified’ tweets from the day:


A full video recording and a monthly column in Family Law on transparency to follow


Reports seen:





Tickets for the 3rd multi-disciplinary Child Protection 2017, supported by the Transparency Project are now on sale at Eventbrite




The Gresham lecture on expert witnesses looks interesting for family justice this week




Legal aid and access to justice

  • Jon Robins on quarterly statistics on legal aid in Legal Voice here with Legal aid safety net applications up by 43%. Headlines include falling legal help new matter starts; and a 43% increase in applications for ‘exceptional’ legal aid where otherwise out of scope with 6 in 10 now granted.



It’s hard not to speculate that there is a similar information gap for some litigants in person within the family justice system just waiting to be filled.



Feature picture : courtesy of Lauri Heikkinen on Flickr – with thanks