The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has issued a call for evidence as part of the Family Court's ‘Transparency Review’.
The review is concerned with the current arrangements which regulate access by journalists and the public to, and the reporting of, information concerning proceedings in the Family Court.
Submissions on the following questions are “likely to be of particular value”:
- is the line currently drawn correctly between, on the one hand, the need for confidentiality for the parties and children whose personal information may be the subject of proceedings in the Family Court, and, on the other hand, the need for the public to have confidence in the work that these courts undertake on behalf of the State and society?
- if not, what steps should be taken to achieve either greater openness or increased confidentiality?
- any observations on the Practice Guidance: Family Court- Anonymisation Guidance issued by the President on 7 December 2018 and the President’s Guidance as to reporting in the Family Courts, issued on 29 October 2019.
The President has also invited a small panel to assist him. The panel members are:
- Dr Eia Asen (consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist)
- Anthony Douglas CBE (former chief executive of CAFCASS)
- Clare Dyer (former Legal Editor of The Guardian)
- Nicola Shaw CBE (Executive Director of National Grid).