• Correcting, clarifying and commenting on media reports of family cases

• Explaining and commenting on published Judgments of family cases

• Highlighting other transparency news

 

MEDIA REPORTS OF FAMILY COURTS CASES:

 

‘Judge orders boy, seven, to live with father after his mother raised him as her daughter and even registered him with his GP as a girl’ reported the Daily Mail here
Hayden J released two judgments for publication about this case on 21st October 2016:
(1) J (A Minor), Re [2016] EWHC 2430 (Fam)
(2) J (A Minor), Re [2016] EWHC 2595 (Fam)

We have also seen reports from the Guardian and The Times so far on this case with the Daily Mail giving it front-page space today. The first judgment is the decision that the boy should live with his father (although) under a Care Order to the Local Authority. Even the Daily Mail report seems fairly accurate at first glance. The transgender identity or otherwise of the 7 year old child really was the live issue of the case. It is also clear from reading the judgment that the portrayal by the press of the trouncing by the judge of an unnamed, bungling local authority, for decisions that seemed based on political correctness does reflect what happened in the court proceedings. We discuss the second judgment briefly below and will blog on both in due course. In the meantime we have tweeted links to both judgments (which none of the media reports do).

 

The Mirror removed their incorrect report about the outcome of Re W this week and published an updated correct version after communication with the Family Court Reporting Watch team
See our previous blog: The Wrong End of the Stick for updates as they unfolded this week.

The misleading and fundamentally incorrect article is still online here at the Sun, with no updated story apparent either at the time of writing. We will continue to monitor.

 

Advertising children for adoptive parents in the national press:
Our blog of earlier this week is here

 

The terrifying tale of how Britain’s most secret court imprisoned a grandmother (AKA Court enforces its own orders and publishes judgment for the world to see)
Our blog of earlier this week is here

 

PUBLISHED JUDGMENTS OF FAMILY CASES TO EXPLAIN OR COMMENT ON:

 

The second Judgment from Hayden J: J (A Minor), Re [2016] EWHC 2595 (Fam)
This is the hearing of the local authority’s application for a Reporting Restriction Order relating to how the anonymised judgment should be published under the Presidents’ Transparency Guidance, in light of the specific privacy issues arising and the ALC / Dr Julia Brophy Anonymisation Guidance, currently with the President for consideration. We will look in more detail at this case in our blog to follow.

 

OTHER TRANSPARENCY NEWS

 

Transparency in the Family Courts: Guidance by the President 
This short new guidance was published earlier this week to clarify the status of the Anonymisation Guidance that was published by the Association of Lawyers for Children and Dr Julia Brophy in August. He considered there had been some confusion about the status of this guidance, which he describes as ‘not judicial guidance in the sense in which many would understand that phrase’. The President emphasised his support for the research that underpins the ALC/Brophy document. The Transparency Project wrote a blog post here at the time the guidance was published. The guidance is also discussed in Re J ( A Minor) [II] above

 

The appeal of Waney Squier against the GMCC decision to remove her from the medical register began this week
It was extensively reported. Waney Squier herself, speaking to BBC News, called for a full public enquiry into the evidence about ‘shaken baby syndrome’  We await the outcome with interest.

 

The Gazette reported on the sentencing of the Mckenzie Friend at ‘Parents Voice’ for perverting the course of justice in the family court
The report is here. The Mckenzie Friend received a 12 month prison sentence resulting in fresh calls from some for Mckenzie Friends to be regulated.

We still await the outcome of the consultation issued by the Lord Chief Justice and the Judicial Executive Board entitled “Reforming the Courts’ approach to McKenzie Friends”. The consultation, the Transparency Project response and further information are here.

The Gazette also reported several cases about solicitors and fraud this week, including the former solicitor who specialised in conveyancing, imprisoned for a second time for 5 years for fraud:

John Bolch wrote about ‘The Minefield of Unregulated legal assistance’ here.

The Transparency Project is looking into publishing a Guidance Note for families on safely choosing and using lawyers and Mckenzie friends when possible.

 

 

The decision of the Press Recognition Panel on whether to ‘recognise’ IMPRESS
It’s been interesting to note the coverage of the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and The Times this week in the lead up to the adjourned decision of the Press Recognition Panel next Tuesday on whether to ‘recognise’ IMPRESS.

Links to some of those reports are here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2016/10/19/this-threat-to-press-freedom-should-be-abandoned/
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/comment/not-impressed-srf2bdrsj
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-3857836/DAILY-MAIL-COMMENT-Freedom-not-bend-blackmail.html

For some other views about Impress and Press Regulation see Transparency Project blogs here:
https://www.transparencyproject.org.uk/what-happened-to-the-leveson-inquiry-into-press-standards/
https://www.transparencyproject.org.uk/impress-blazing-a-trail-for-a-fairer-better-kind-of-press-regulation/https://www.transparencyproject.org.uk/press-regulation-why-we-are-unimpressed-by-ipso/