A review of how to achieve greater transparency in the family courts by Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division, highlighted the difficulty in balancing the need for confidentiality and the need to enhance public confidence in the family court.

The report makes clear that the issue of transparency is not a binary issue – openness can be achieved without opening hearings to the general public.

What do these proposals mean in practice?

Currently, journalists can attend hearings, but they cannot report the evidence unless a judge approves an application.  There is a reluctance on the part of journalists to attend court, given reporting the details of these hearings could risk them...

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