Sian Cox: Transparency in the Family Court: Private Children Update Q&A


25th Mar 2024 | Blog


Where?

Following the launch of the Reporting Pilot in January 2023 in Cardiff, Leeds and Carlisle, January 2024 sees the expansion of the children pilot to the following courts:
North: Liverpool, Manchester, West Yorkshire (Bradford, Wakefield) and Hull (Kingston upon Hill, Grimsby, Beverley)
Midlands: Nottingham, Stoke (Stoke on Trent, Stafford and Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates), Derby (and Chesterfield) and Birmingham
South: Dorset, Truro, Luton, Guildford and Milton Keynes
London: Central Family, West London and East London

Which hearings are included in the pilot?

All applications under Part II Children Act 1989, including application to discharge, vary or enforce an existing order.

Schedule 1 Children Act 1989 are covered.

There should be caution about reporting any without notice matter.

Which hearings are not included?

Applications under Part IV of the Family Law Act 1996.

Appeals or matters heard in open court.

Who can report?

Only journalists (defined as duly accredited representatives of news gathering and reporting organisations) or Legal Bloggers (a duly authorised lawyer attending for journalistic, research or public legal educational purposes) may attend (FPR 27.11(2) / PD27B).

What is the process?

Although a reporter is supposed to give notice, in practice the late release of court lists does not always make this possible. The reporter does not need to make an application to attend; the onus is on parties to raise a valid objection, but this will be rare in practice: FPR 27.11(3) provides grounds.

Once attendance is confirmed, the court will make a transparency order setting out what can be reported. The draft can be found here: https://linktr.ee/TransparencyImplementation

The transparency order will also set out which documents should be provided to the reporter, including position statements – see the template order as above.


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If you would like some help or advice, talk about a similar matter, call our clerks on 020 7353 6961.

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