Included in this list are sites that we think are generally reliable and balanced sources of information about family law in England & Wales. We can’t guarantee they will get everything right all of the time but we think they may be useful to people looking for more information.
Attachment is a technical psychological term with a specific meaning, but it is used an awful lot in care proceedings and other cases about children, including by people who are not psychologists. It doesn’t help that attachment has a meaning in everyday language, which is not the same as the technical meaning – this is a recipe for confusion. Here are some useful materials which help explain the difference :
Attachment theory – the basics, Child Protection Resource
Never use the word ‘attachment’ again, Community Care, August 2016
A quick guide to attachment theory, David Shemmings, Guardian Online, February 2016
Indicators of disorganised attachment in children, David Shemmings, Community Care, January 2011
What is attachment theory – why is it important?, Child Protection Resource
Andrew Pack, Transparency Project member, has written some really useful basic explanations of the law relating to family law (children) – primarily for social workers, but also helpful or any other non-lawyer wanting an accessible explanation.
Guidelines on Reporting Restrictions in the Criminal Courts issued jointly by the Judiciary, the News Media Association, the Society of Editors and the Medial Lawyers Association have now been revised, as of May 2016.
You can download the full PDF here.
We have now published an updated summary of the key points by way of a Quick Reference Guide here on this blog.
We thought that The Transparency Project ought to produce a response to the recent consultation on fee-paid Mckenzie Friends. Now that we have finalised and submitted our response (just before the extended deadline – phew!) we are publishing it here for you to read. We hope it will prompt some discussion because we don’t think this is an easy topic or one that is very well understood.
The MediaWise Trust – formerly PressWise – exists to:
- provide free, confidential advice and assistance for members of the public affected by inaccurate, intrusive, or sensational media coverage;
- deliver use-of-the-media training for the voluntary sector and members of the public;
- devise and deliver training on ethical issues for media professionals;
- conduct research and publish material about media law, policy and practice;
- contribute to public debate about the role and impact of the mass media.
Their website : www.mediawise.org.uk
UPDATE FEB 2017 : In light of the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Hackney v Williams (see here) we will be looking at our guidance note to see if it needs amendment or updating.
This guidance was published in February 2016 and is for use by professionals and parents / family members, to help explain what section 20 voluntary accommodation of children is for and when it should and should not be used. Updated May 2016.
Transparency Project members Lucy Reed and Louise Tickle wrote an article on this topic for Family Law Journal in January. Jordans have kindly given permission for that article to be republished here.
If you would like to read the article please click here to download it : Press Reporting of Care Proceedings.
How do I make an application to the court to allow me to publish information about family proceedings?
Part of the aims of the Transparency Project is to gather resources to help others to promote openness and hence greater understanding about how the family court system works. I am attempting to start the ball rolling with my suggestions as to what could usefully be included in a skeleton argument or opening position when you are trying to persuade the court to let you publish information that you would normally not be able to release into the public domain. I hope this can be useful to both parents and journalists.
We will continue to refine and add to this post, so all comments welcome.
Read the post here.
The Child Protection Resource site is administered by Transparency Project member Sarah Phillimore.
It aims to provide information about the child protection system to anyone who is involved with or interested in the system and also hopes to spark discussion about how to improve current practice.
The site offers explanations of key legal and social work principles and signposts readers to many other useful resources and information.
In the past, Full Fact has been mainly associated with statistics: as relevant to family justice as to any other walk of life. We’ve checked topics including whether black children take twice as long to be adopted as white children; whether the length of care proceedings has fallen in recent years, even before the imposition of the 26-week limit; whether fewer children are being adopted; and, most recently, whether England and Wales is unusual in permitting non-consensual adoption.
In 2011 the President of the Family Division and the Society of Editors produced a report setting out the law in this area. It is a really useful starting point for understanding this difficult topic.
You can find it on the judiciary website here.
House of Commons Research Briefing : Confidentiality and openness in the family courts: current rules and history of their reform
This document was updated and republished in September 2015. It contains a useful summary of the history of reform and debate in this area. It can be found on the House of Commons website.
Full Fact is an independent, non-partisan, factchecking charity. They check claims made by politicians, the media and pressure groups, and stop misinformation spreading by pressing for corrections. They separate the facts from the spin and present our findings and sources so that you can judge the claim — and our factcheck — for yourself.
This toolkit was prepared by Alice Twaite and Lucy Reed in May 2015. It gives an overview of some transparency related issues in the Family Court.
You are free to use, copy and circulate it, but it does not contain legal advice and it may not be regularly updated.
www.familycourtinfo.org.uk is a site containing basic information and links to resources. It was developed for family court users in the Bristol, Gloucester, Bath and Weston Family Court area, so lots of the information is local to that, but you may still find it useful. The Transparency Project is currently working with the developers of the site to make similar sites available in other areas (See here).
Here is a link to a policy briefing written in 2009 by Julia Brophy and Ceridwen Roberts (University of Oxford) which compares the law relating to access to family courts in a number of jurisdictions (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Scotland). The law is not all up to date, of course, but it may still be helpful as a starting point in looking at what happens elsewhere. (Copy also uploaded with this post.)
(Amended to include a link to the Nuffield page. You can also read a briefing on the proposed reforms in 2010 there)
(Amended 11 January to add this link to the Child Court law reporting project in Ireland which includes a detailed report written November 2014 on its Interim Reports page.)
BAILII, the British and Irish Legal Information Agency, is a charity which makes judgments in family (and other) cases freely available for public use.
Older judgments in the County Court and Magistrates Court (from before 22 April 2014) are found separately on BAILII.
Suesspicious Minds is a blog written by our contributor Andrew P.
Find it at suesspiciousminds.com