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Open season: reporting restrictions in family law

Miranda Fisher considers reporting restrictions in the family justice system

25 July 2012

On 27 April 2009, the family justice system in England and Wales opened its doors to accredited media representatives who now have a right to attend and observe the family courts at work if they choose to do so. This right of attendance is largely unfettered, and the circumstances in which the media will be excluded will generally be very limited to the protection of children or the physical safety of the parties or witnesses.

However, what the media can report from their observations remains limited under the current law. In some cases the media have been allowed into the hearing but prevented from reporting any of the information disclosed, including the parties’ identities, despite arguments about public interest in the issues in the case.

Rising tension

The family courts have become accustomed to contending with the conflict between art...

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