Calls for greater openness in family courts

“Transparency” is the most important issue facing the family justice system and legislation designed to bring about greater openness is a “lost opportunity”, Lord Justice Munby has said.


Delivering the Hershman-Levy Memorial Lecture in Birmingham in July, Munby LJ called for “radical and comprehensive reform” of the rules relating to openness in the family justice system.

He said the Children, Schools and Families Act 2010 was likely to reduce the amount of information publicly available about children and family proceedings. Divorce and ancillary relief cases were “scarcely affected”. Restrictive reporting rules left the system open to attack and dampened public confidence.

“It is all too easy to attack the system when the system itself prevents anyone correcting the misrepresentations being fed to the media. Too relentless an enforcement of the privacy of family court proceedings is simply counterproductive,” he said.

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