- Correcting and clarifying media reports of family cases;
- Explaining or commenting on published Judgments of family cases;
- Other transparency news
MEDIA REPORTS OF FAMILY COURTS CASES:
Re W – The Wrong End of the Stick (blog here)
PUBLISHED FAMILY COURT JUDGMENTS:
Litigants In Person – Getting court documents well before the hearing starts (blog here)
‘You and your Father’: Judge writes to a young person in a Judgment: (blog here)
The importance of redacting unnecessary graphic sexual details from published judgments: S v T, UN & Ors (Rev 1)  EWFC 41
Mr Justice Keehan’s Judgment begins with an encouraging declaration in the rubric to the reader that: “redactions have been made to remove all references in this published judgment to the explicit details of sexual activity”.
Oddly there do still seem to be quite a lot of details of sexual activity in the judgment. Perhaps these are few by comparison to the original detailed evidence. Certainly they are less than some of the more graphic fact finding judgments about sexual abuse that we have been concerned about previously.
The index at the start of the judgment is also noteworthy in terms of reader accessibility.
Transparently documenting the research methodology under which families are assessed: MA, Re (Judgement Hearing)  EWFC 46
Para 25 of the Judgment notes as follows with respect to an assessment of the parents at a residential unit: “The assessment used the Department of Health framework as a model for analysing the parents’ ability to meet M’s needs, together with the Signs of Safety model to address concerns about child abuse and maltreatment. In addition, the assessors used aspects of the Brook sexual behaviours “traffic light tool” to explore the parents’ understanding of safe/healthy and unsafe/unhealthy sexual development within children”.
We thought this paragraph noteworthy as a reminder of the importance for transparency, learning and fairness, of routinely documenting the research methodology and evidential basis of assessments of families.
Work is underway looking into the delivery of a unified national family justice observatory. A call for evidence to inform the study, including views on what should be it’s priorities closes on 31st October.
IN OTHER TRANSPARENCY NEWS
Amnesty International reported on the impact of legal aid changes on access to justice
The Report: ‘United Kingdom. Cuts that hurt. The impact of legal aid cuts in England on access to justice’, particularly highlighted the impact of cuts on children’s ability to access justice and called for the government to urgently review the legislation as promised.
Sir Joseph Pilling reported on IPSO
His report: ‘The External IPSO Review Report’ lead the Daily Mail and others to declare IPSO ‘an effective regulator’. The Transparency Project will consider that claim and comment on the role of IPSO in a separate post to follow.