We are thrilled to announce that we have been shortlisted for the Lexis Nexis ‘Family Law Commentator Of The Year’ award.

The award is for ‘the commentator who the family law community consider to have provided the most useful commentary to help them in their practice. The commentary could have been contained in any format including books, journal articles, videos or blogs’.

We think we fit that bill quite nicely, although we are also very much public facing. In fact, the Transparency Project were shortlisted for this award in 2017 (we didn’t win… *sniffs*), and so we know the competition is fierce. But whether or not we win this award, it feels good to achieve some recognition for the work we’ve been doing to make family justice clearer.

We couldn’t do what we do without our amazing TP team. So, we extend a big THANK YOU to our amazing bunch of volunteers, writers and staff, without whose hard work and word skills we would disappear in a puff of smoke. Take a bow Team TP!

This award is decided by a vote by the family law community (if you are reading this blog, that’s you). This means we need you to vote! We would be super pleased if you could take a minute of your time to cast your vote – for us we hope, but if not for one of the other no-doubt-super candidates. You can vote here.

Why vote for The Transparency Project?

  • A large proportion of our work is in the form of blog posts and articles in online and print publications, including a monthly ‘Transparency Update’ column for Family Law. The blog posts are written by a diverse team of practising barristers and solicitors, academic lawyers and a range of others working in or with first-hand experience of the family justice system (or CoP), including parents, social workers and journalists.
  • Since inception, we have consistently published several posts every week explaining a judgment newly published on BAILII, correcting poor news journalism about family court cases, or inaccurate headlines, and articulating poorly understood legal concepts for a mixed audience (Family Court Reporting Watch project). In addition, we write about transparency issues such as publication of judgments, anonymization, and the reporting of family court cases generally.
  • Having spearheaded the introduction in 2018 of the ‘legal blogging pilot’ we have regularly attended court hearings and reported from them, including cases that journalists would not consider ‘newsworthy’, but which showed a different aspect to the family courts from that which is usually available to the interested public.
  • Whilst the writing by The Transparency Project is for general public benefit and is therefore written with a lay audience in mind, much of the readership is within the family justice system (including lawyers and judges) and we know from feedback that it is a valuable source of information for them about the things that are happening in their field, both on questions of transparency and more widely.
  • Several of our members are active on working groups and committees relating to justice, modernization, transparency and legal reform generally and members have been active in responding to relevant consultations – meaning we are able to blog about such issues informatively for the wider legal community. Our influence on the legal sector is disproportionate to our size. We are a team of volunteers with one FTE staff member and our output is continuous.
  • Sir Andrew McFarlane (President of the Family Division) described the work of the project as ‘ground-breaking and inspired’, with the result that ‘transparency is to be seen as a much more subtle, sophisticated and flexible concept… [Transparency in the Family Courts*] is written by those who have been on the front- foot on the issues of transparency throughout and who understand the subtleties both of the law and of the policy debate that lies behind it.’
  • Our Patron, Clifford Bellamy says : ‘It is only just over 4 years ago that the Transparency Project’s constitution was signed and trustees appointed. Since its formation it has undoubtedly made its mark in the family justice world… I want to offer my encouragement and support to the Transparency Project. It is doing an excellent job. It is helping to make things happen.’

* Transparency in the Family Courts – Publicity and Privacy in Practice is co-authored by our three trustees, and this quote is taken from the foreword by Sir Andrew.

Another way you can show your appreciation

We’re trying to raise funds to continue our work, and in particular our Family Court Reporting Watch project. If you are in a position to make a small one off or regular donation it would help to defray recurring core costs, and hopefully help us sustain this largely volunteer led project.

You can make a giftaided donate via justgiving page here.