Are the details of your divorce private?

Are the details of your divorce private? What are the new transparency changes in family law?

In 2019, Sir Andrew McFarlane, the President of the Family Division, ordered a review of transparency in family courts, as he questioned whether the courts were striking the right balance between the need to protect confidentiality of clients, versus the broader imperative for the public to have confidence in the family courts doing a good job.

A year-long pilot scheme started on 30 January 2023 across Leeds, Cardiff and Carlisle, introducing a presumption that accredited media& legal bloggers can report on family court cases, and be given access to interview involved parties.

This is subject to strict anonymity rules, assured through judges making a ‘transparency order’, setting out what can and cannot be reported on in individual cases.

Given the success of the pilot, the program has been extended to include 16 courts, initially restricting reporting to public law proceedings, before extending it to private law cases.

There are some concerns that parties, especially victims of abuse, are quite anxious about journalists being allowed into the courtroom, however, it is hoped as the program continues that these parties will see they can trust their identity will be protected.

This a positive development, with no reports of anonymity being breached and positive mainstream media interest. It is hoped the publicity of this project will do something to show the lack of resources and worn infrastructure of family courts and will promote funding, raise standards of practice, and give us a better understanding of what trends our society is facing.

However, if you have concerns about the reporting of personal details, mediation can be a route to finding resolution without the risk of media involvement. Mediation provides a confidential, private, safe space for separating families to deal with the legal and practical issues that need to be resolved.

If you would like to know more about how mediation can help, book a call on our website www.familymandm.co.uk or email us at hello@familymandm.co.uk

Guest Blog by Freya Rogers

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