Correcting, clarifying or commenting on media reports of family court cases
Explaining or commenting on published judgments of family court cases
Highlighting other transparency news
MEDIA (MIS)REPORTS OF FAMILY COURT CASES
Alfie Evans – We’ve drawn together some analysis of the many issues that surrounded Alfie Evans short life, and sad death in the early hours of Saturday morning, after life support was withdrawn. See Alfie Evans: Summary and Useful Links. We’ll add to it as we come across commentary we find particularly useful. Suggestions are welcome:
— transparency project (@seethrujustice) April 30, 2018
No, but I know who the judge was. I suspect they will publish their judgement in due course
— Paula Liddell (@paulaliddell1) April 30, 2018
BBC 1 drama the Split – Episode 1 of the TV drama by Abi Morgan, explored the impact of divorce and separation on children, including into adulthood: Directly, through the family law cases family lawyer, ‘Hannah’ (Nicola Walker) deals with; and indirectly, through all three adult sisters, and their (law firm owner) mother, who raised them single handedly after their father walked out when they were young. The twitter legal community seemed to value the drama (even if also noting some technical inaccuracies). Still time to catch up here and form a view, before the second episode on Tuesday:
But will that counter:
'Child Access' 7 minutes in
'Visitation' 17 minutes in
'Visitation rights' at 30 minutes
And potentially dodgy immerman documents at 46 minutes#TheSplit @Familoo get @seethrujustice on it!
Despite that must admit to enjoying watching it!!
— Beth Hardwick (@BethHardwick3) April 24, 2018
The Times – Published an article by Louise Tickle (Transparency Project member) exposing poverty and lack of support experienced by ‘kinship carers’. The report was widely applauded, including by Fostering Network, for bringing a vital subject to public attention. (Though Fostering Network also took issue with the online headline, which it felt was denigrating foster care). It is not widely understood that journalists do not write their own headlines, and whilst we can acknowledge the anxieties of the foster care sector, it is difficult to write a piece about ‘kinship carers’ (who are mostly not also approved as foster carers and are frequently asked to take up care immediately or have the child go into stranger foster care), without some degree of simplification / comparison with the ‘alternatives’, such as ‘stranger’ foster care:
Love this article on kinship care by @louisetickle
But that headline …https://t.co/L8J2xkiV58
— Martin Barrow (@MartinBarrow) April 21, 2018
Hull Daily Mail – This Hull Daily Mail article written by a local family lawyer, inspired senior BBC reporter Sanchia Berg to politely point out there may be better ways for a local paper to reach the real stories from their local family courts:
@hulldailymail good to run piece on family courts…but why not send your reporter to sit in ? Many judges happy to allow reporting if anonymised. And No Gavels @seethrujustice @louisetickle https://t.co/GNLco2amDo
— Sanchia Berg (@Sanchia7) April 22, 2018
The Daily Mail – Reported lawyers calling for clarity on procedural errors invalidating divorce decisions, that could mean someone had unwittingly committed bigamy. Commentators pointed out that the report, Judges and ministers are told to come clean about blunders after it emerged some couples who won divorce orders are still married, was wrong in claiming thousands feared they might be affected and suggesting a lack of transparency from officials. There was no link to guidance transparently published in the first place by the President, and HMCTS had speedily responded to @seethrujustice on twitter confirming13 divorces were affected. The Mail report was published before that confirmation emerged however, and they did (for whatever reason) subsequently publish our comment confirming the numbers. (See transparency positives below):
This relates to 13 cases, and the majority occurred before divorce was centralised into divorce centres. New checks are in place to identify errors & our new digital divorce service has built-in validation to stop such errors happening.
— HMCTS (@HMCTSgovuk) April 25, 2018
And they refer to ‘thousands affected’ Misleading!
— Emma Alfieri (@Alfie_Steeles) April 25, 2018
The Daily Mail – The Daily Mail published our comment with the HMCTS confirmation that the number of petitions affected was 13 (see above). We’ve repeatedly tried to share key facts or link to published judgments through the comments section of this and other publications without success to date, so this is something of a transparency turnaround:
— transparency project (@seethrujustice) April 25, 2018
NEWLY PUBLISHED CASES (ETC) FOR EXPLANATION OR COMMENT
IPSO complaint decision 20480-17: Tower Hamlets Borough Council v The Times – We commented on the decision IPSO published last week, and the context of oral and written evidence from newspapers editors, to the Home Affairs Select Committee. See Press regulator upholds complaint against The Times in the Muslim Foster Carer Case:
— transparency project (@seethrujustice) April 26, 2018
— transparency project (@seethrujustice) April 23, 2018
JY v RY  EWFC B16 (27 April 2018) – A legally ‘ordinary’ case of considerable importance for families and those working within the family justice system, as tweets reflect:
I read this again and again and I could weep. So many of us have dedicated our adult professional lives to this system and people like these parents. Look what they have done to it. Look what they have done! https://t.co/D7boDjpSoS
— John Vater (@japv1) April 28, 2018
Well said. A brilliant judgement highlighting the demise of a fair and useful legal system without lawyers to represent the majority of parents in need https://t.co/4MPi0xXwCf
— Rebecca CarrHopkins (@_queenofhandbag) April 28, 2018
— John Hyde (@JohnHyde1982) April 28, 2018
Powerful observations from a district judge forced to determine an application concerning future contact arrangements for a child where neither parent was represented due to lack of legal aid; LASPO review must make sure this never happens again https://t.co/NYEHVXRptv pic.twitter.com/mUkDJwzTWL
— LauraJanes (@LauraJanes_UK) April 28, 2018
Jonathon Coulter v IPSO– The judgment was published from Warby J’s decision against the applicant on his application for judicial review of IPSO’s handling of the complaint against The Times and Sunday Times (about a campaign meeting held at the House of Lords). See responses from Jonathon Coulter and IPSO and this Gazette report:
Warby J's published judgment from Jonathan Coulter -v- Independent Press Standards Organisation CIC https://t.co/nXdznbEow5 And responses from @IPSO https://t.co/ID2bl1HGeJ and Jonathon Coulter: https://t.co/SKPx5IDFRu
— transparency project (@seethrujustice) April 27, 2018
IN OTHER TRANSPARENCY NEWS
The Chartered Institute of Journalists on Open Justice – We responded to the CiOJ report on Open Justice. See Journalism, Judges and Justice – a crisis in court reporting? and some twitter exchanges it provoked :
— transparency project (@seethrujustice) April 20, 2018
Mainstream news publishers challenge to the approval of Impress – Permission to appeal the High Court’s initial decision was granted to news publishers trying to overturn the press recognition panel decision to approve Impress as a press regulator under the Royal Charter. The Gazette reported here.
The Lord Chief Justice gave evidence to the Constitutional Affairs Committee – Lord Burnett’s evidence (on challenges facing the judiciary, the modernisation of the justice system, judicial appointments and legal aid) is available to watch here. (The Guardian, the Telegraph and others also reported elements).
The Sir Henry Brooke Annual Lecture on 7th June 2018 – The Lord Chief Justice will also deliver the 2018 annual BAILII lecture on ‘The Age of Reform’. Registration here.
BAILII survey – You may wish to complete BAILII’s short survey here to help them understand what users appreciate about the service and what they would like to see improved.
It’s not my job to believe you – Lucy Reed (Transparency Project Chair) explained the, often misunderstood, matter of how barristers respond to client’s instructions and why at Pink Tape:
— Lucy Reed (@Familoo) April 22, 2018
Legal Blogging – Free Movement interviewed Lucy Reed (Transparency Project Chair who also blogs at PinkTape) as part of a series on legal blogging:
— Colin Yeo (@ColinYeo1) April 24, 2018
The ethics of non consensual adoption – The Yorkshire launch of the report from the BASW commissioned enquiry into the role of the social worker in adoption takes place at the University of Huddersfield on 5th June 2018. Reservations here:
— The Open Nest (@TheOpenNest) April 27, 2018
Transparency in the Family Courts: Publicity and Privacy in Practice – By Transparency Project members Lucy Reed, Julie Doughty and Paul Magrath, published at Bloomsbury Professional:
— transparency project (@seethrujustice) April 27, 2018
Resolution Annual Conference – Transparency highlights included Lady Hale’s Keynote speech as reported in the Times and Telegraph, and the Panel answering questions including on transparency in the family courts (see threads here):
…and yes, for the avoidance of doubt, it was given at our conference 😉 pic.twitter.com/v77XECXnKv
— Resolution (@ResFamilyLaw) April 24, 2018
Thread about family law – lots about transparency in family courts https://t.co/3KEBsPIazc
— transparency project (@seethrujustice) April 21, 2018
Feature pic: Courtesy of Flickr Lauri Heikkinenon via Creative Commons licence – with thanks