This time last year we produced a guidance note for judges and lawyers to help them navigate the relatively unfamiliar scenario of a reporter rocking up at court.
That guidance note was endorsed by the Financial Remedies Court subgroup of the Transparency Implementation Group in their report to the President in May 2023.
Our guidance note made brief mention of the Reporting Pilot which launched around the same time in a few courts only, but it was primarily intended to deal with more general issues around the attendance of reporters, in the vast majority of courts where no pilot was operating.
In December 2023 the President announced the launch of a Financial Remedies Court pilot to start from Mon 29 January 2024, via a new set of guidance here. The President’s guidance on the FRC Pilot appended our January guidance note, but of course that pre-dated and doesn’t deal with or apply directly to cases proceeding under the reporting pilots, which as of Monday will also include a further 16 court centres for children cases, bringing the total to 19.
We thought that was a bit confusing and we should update our guidance to reflect the approach in the now 19 pilot courts. We decided in the end it made more sense to split the guidance off into two distinct but ultimately very similar guides – one for reporting pilot courts and cases, and one for non-pilot courts and cases. Whilst there we’ve taken the opportunity to clarify a few points of. detail, but the thrust of both documents is very similar.
We have just about managed to get these ready in time for the launch of the FRC pilot and the expansion of the children pilot that is due to happen next week, and we encourage professionals to help us to ‘cascade’ these new versions to their colleagues in place of the old.
We hope they are helpful in smoothing the way for those who are getting to grips with this.
Separately, we are also intending to produce a simple guidance note for parents which explains a bit about the not-very-straightforward law relating to publication of information in children cases, and which helps them navigate what they can and can’t say or share about their case outside the courtroom. We have seen HMCTS’ recent update to their leaflet EX710 ‘Talking about a case outside of court’, but we found it a bit confusing, and are going to have a go ourselves. Watch this space!