Family court transparency proposals balancing act between openness and privacy

19 Jun 2007

Family law group Resolution today welcomed proposals from the Ministry of Justice for improving transparency in family courts.

“These proposals will create the right balance between ensuring openness and transparency in family cases, whilst at the same time protecting the privacy of families and children in particular,” said Jane McCulloch, Chair of Resolution.

“As family lawyers we know only too well how distressing it can be for families to have disputes that end up in the courts. Add widespread publicity to that mix and the result, especially for any children involved, can be overwhelming.

“The stakes in family proceedings are often high, and proceedings emotionally charged. It is essential that families involved fully understand the reasons why a judge has made a particular decision.

“Making summaries of decisions, or transcripts available setting out the reasons for reaching a particular decision is an extremely sensible move. Helping people understand how a decision was reached may take away some of the bitterness.”

Resolution calls on the Ministry of Justice to ensure that additional resources will be made available so that the provision of this information to families does not become an additional burden on an already overstretched family justice system.

The availability of “later life” statements for adults involved in cases as children is also welcome. Resolution believes that, as with information provided to adopted children, counselling should be made available to those provided with “later life” statements.

“Greater clarity and widening of the rules surrounding who individuals can discuss their case with is extremely useful. Being able to take a close friend or family member to court with you is an invaluable support mechanism for those involved in family cases,” said Jane McCulloch.

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact:
Teresa Richardson
Head of Communications
Tel: 020 7357 9215
Mob: 07894 981 020

Jane McCulloch
Resolution Chair
Prince McCulloch
Tel: 01246 224867