Family Courts

My column in the Law Society Gazette this week is mainly about the government’s plans to allow press reporting of the family courts. Ministers have seen off an amendment, supported by the judges, that would have deferred reports until judgment was delivered. But I am not convinced we shall be better off as a result.

A Bill intended to open up family courts to the media will require major amendment if it is to achieve its aims. That has become abundantly clear to me after my experiences in defending the media at two separate events organised by family lawyers over the past 10 days.

The family justice system in England and Wales is overstretched and nearer to breaking point than it has ever been, a leading family judge said today.

Sorry my contributions to this blog have been a little sparse recently; I’ve been very busy. But here’s a piece in the Law Society Gazette demonstrating that the government’s promise to open up the family courts will not achieve what the Lord Chancellor had initially hoped for.

A devastating picture of the family courts in crisis because of underfunding was painted last night by Sir Mark Potter, president of the High Court Family Division.

It is a shame that journalists are not taking the opportunity to report how family courts work, District Judge Lynne Roberts told the Today programme this morning. But nobody should be very surprised.