PRESIDENT calls for radical changes in family courts’ approach to transparency

13 12 21 Family Law WeekI do find them interesting, the gaps between:

Here, Family Law Week published on 20 December 2013:

‘Many more judgments must be published’

The President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, has called for radical changes in the approach of the family courts and the Court of Protection to transparency.

Sir James’s comments were made in his judgment delivered in Re P (A Child) [2013] EWHC 4048 (Fam). This was an application by Essex County Council for a reporting restriction order in relation to Alessandra Pacchieri, whose daughter, P, was delivered by caesarean section, by order of the Court of Protection, and was later taken into the care of Essex County Council.

The President’s judgment gives a detailed chronology of the key events in the case. In relation to the reporting of the court proceedings, he concludes:

“How can the family justice system blame the media for inaccuracy in the reporting of family cases if for whatever reason none of the relevant information has been put before the public?

“… This case must surely stand as final, stark and irrefutable demonstration of the pressing need for radical changes in the way in which both the family courts and the Court of Protection approach what for shorthand I will refer to as transparency. We simply cannot go on as hitherto. Many more judgments must be published. And, as this case so very clearly demonstrates, that applies not merely to the judgments of |High Court Judges; it applies also to the judgments of Circuit Judges.”

The judgment can be read here. An earlier short judgment relating to the reporting restriction application is here.

And Christopher Booker’s latest article is entitled: Lord Justice Munby probes ‘court secrecy’


About Sabine Kurjo McNeill

I'm a mathematician and system analyst formerly at CERN in Geneva and became an event organiser, software designer, independent web publisher and online promoter of Open Justice. My most significant scientific contribution is
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9 Responses to PRESIDENT calls for radical changes in family courts’ approach to transparency

  1. carnabwth1 says:

    I am drawn to Paragraph 29
    29. Shortly before 6pm on 12 December 2013 my clerk received by email the following letter from Dawson Cornwell addressed to him and dated 6 December 2013:
    “Dear Sir

    Re P (a child)
    Case No CM12/C05138 – an Italian Child/Care/Adoption

    We refer to the above matter.
    We understand that this has now been transferred to the High Court with the intention that a hearing be fixed before the President of the Family Division.

    We would advise the President that we have been approached by the Italian Embassy in London who would wish us to make an application to intervene in this case on behalf of Italy. The case relates to Italian nationals and we are instructed that it may be helpful for Italy to make representations on the application of the Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 (Revised Brussels II).

    For the avoidance of doubt Italy would not seek to advocate the position of any particular party to the proceedings but would wish to assist the Court in every way possible, where appropriate, as to the events referable to this case and also in order to formulate general guidance if appropriate.

    The Legal team would be … instructed by Anne-Marie Hutchinson of this firm.

    We should be grateful also if you would let us know whether any hearing has been fixed?

    Yours faithfully”
    That was followed by another letter the following morning in which they sought “the guidance of the court as to how the application for leave to intervene should be best dealt with.”

    Where does this leave other foreign registered children that have been stolen by British Local Authorities for monetary gains.

  2. David Gale says:

    The links within the article are broken, Sabine


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