About the Family Law Week blog

The Family Law Week Blog is a companion site to Family Law Week. It complements the news, cases and articles published on Family Law Week with additional comment and coverage of the wider aspects of family law.

The Blog is edited by Jacqui Gilliatt, of 4 Brick Court and Lucy Reed, of St Johns Chambers.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Open sesame: media access to the courts

As Camilla Cavendish is awarded the campaign of the year at the British Press Awards and Community Care claims the credit for making sure that the Sun did not get an award for its Baby P coverage, Frances Gibb speculates? reports? in the Times that only card-carrying accredited media representatives will be allowed into family courts and not bloggers (outrage!).

But finally the wait is over: the Ministry of Justice has offially announced that Open Sesame day will be on 27th April 2009 & the draft statutory instruments have been laid before Parliament.

The Family Proceedings (Amendment) (No.2) Rules 2009 (SI 857/2009) will apply in all courts except the magistrates and The Family Proceedings Courts (Miscellaneous Amendments) Rules 2009 (SI 858/2009) will apply in the Magistrates courts.

By 10.28 (3) (f) allowed into court will be: duly accredited representatives of news gathering and reporting organisations. And by (4)

At any stage of the proceedings the court may direct that persons within paragraph (3)(f) shall not attend the proceedings or any part of them, where satisfied that—

(a) this is necessary—

(i) in the interests of any child concerned in, or connected with, the proceedings;

(ii) for the safety or protection of a party, a witness in the proceedings, or a person connected with such a party or witness; or

(iii) for the orderly conduct of the proceedings; or

(b) justice will otherwise be impeded or prejudiced.

11.4 is interesting too:

(1) A party or the legal representative of a party, on behalf of and upon the instructions of that party, may communicate information relating to the proceedings to any person where necessary to enable that party—

(a) by confidential discussion, to obtain support, advice or assistance in the conduct of the proceedings;

So no restrictions on who can be talked to about a case for this purpose although the regulations go on to say it must not be passed on any further. Mum's the word.


john said...

Journalists can attend, but not say anything. hmmm.

No second opinions.

David R said...

i read the articles by Camilla Cavendish in her "campaign". It was distressing to read a journalist who appeared not to have grasped the principles of care law nor to have considered the possiblity that the parents who had their children removed might, just possibly might, be lying.

And that gets campaign of the year? Sigh.

Also does anyone really think we will get any journalists in the courtroom unless we are say taking the Beckham children away?