Press reporting on family courts: right or wrong?

family courts


Stephen Moss, Partner and Head of the Family and Collaboration Law Team at Lemon&Co Solicitors, comments on the introduction of a new law allowing the press to report on family courts.

This week a new policy will come into force that will see family courts opened to the press. The policy, first announced by Jack Straw in 2008 after a number of high profile cases involving children brought these matters to the fore, will give journalists permission to report on the details of family law cases, including matters relating to children and finances.

Despite this, Judges will still have the right to exclude press in exceptional cases. The Law Society has also spoken out to say that press involvement in family courts should be private unless reviewed on a ‘case-by-case basis’.

When a relationship ends it is often a difficult and emotional time for all involved; the process becomes even more complicated when decisions regarding children, finances and property need to be made. This process could now become even more difficult due to press attendance in certain family court cases.

An alternative to this is to deal with cases in private, at meetings designed to resolve your differences, such as at ‘round table meetings’ or through collaborative law procedures. Both of these methods enable family matters to be managed in a dignified manner – lawyers and their clients work together out-of-court to resolve issues, avoiding the need for confrontation and court actions until a resolution has been reached.In taking this approach, both the financial and emotional costs involved in court proceedings can be reduced.

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