The purpose of this update is to correct, clarify and comment on media reports of family court cases, to explain and comment on published Judgments of family cases and to highlight other transparency news.
Media Reports of Family Courts Case and Family Justice Issues
Media reports we found notably balanced, accurate or otherwise helpful to transparency this week
- Joanna Moorhead wrote in the Daily Mail about one couple’s experience of adopting through the Coram concurrent planning scheme in ‘Our maybe baby: A couple share their story of falling in love with an adopted baby they knew they might have to hand back’. The Coram concurrent planning scheme is a pioneering scheme running since 1999 not a revolutionary ‘new’ scheme, but the piece was otherwise accurate, realistic and sensitive to birth parents as well as adopters and children.
- See Transparency Project discussion of several recent media portrayals of adopted children, including this one, if missed: Adoption Children: Demons or Angels?.
- (And the Letter to the Times from the National Adoption and Fostering Service at the Maudsley Hospital on the harm to children from cuts to CAMHS in response to the Libby Purves piece on adoption in the Times).
‘Online divorces to spare couples time and trouble’
- Times Law published a helpful explanation of the digital divorce pilot due for implementation in 2017 and intended reform to current ‘fault’ based grounds, without resorting to unhelpful “quickie divorce” narratives. See here.
New Published Cases for Explanation or Comment
- In case you missed this…
‘A Genius from another planet’ blog post explaining the legal judgment reported by the Telegraph report as ‘Millionaire seeks greater share in divorce because he is a ‘genius’, prompting court to examine the meaning of the word’.
In other Transparency News
Truss Orders review to ban abusers tormenting victims in family courts
- Announced the Guardian prompting praise but also some twitter concern about use of language in the headline and lack of adequate acknowledgement either that the problem has predominantly arisen from the government cutting legal aid for parents in private law family proceedings; or of the Presidents tireless efforts over years to seek resolution. The Justice Secretary is now (according to the Guardian) considering whether primary legislation is necessary to end perpetrator cross-examination, or whether it could be stopped through the provision of more legal aid. See:
- ‘Revealed: how family courts allow abusers to torment their victims’ in the Guardian on 23rd December 2016 and Letters in response
- ‘Are the family courts failing women’ 30 December 2016 at Women’s Hour on Radio 4
- Lucy Reed’s blog at Pink Tape ‘Cross-Examination of Complainants: Why on Earth is it happening’ with update on ‘Moving forward on the basis of proper, balanced evidence rather than on the basis of who shouts loudest’ with further Letter in response to the Guardian
- David Burrows in family law on options for reform within the existing legal framework and vulnerable witnesses more widely
The Public Accounts Committee published a Progress Report on the Troubled Families Programme
- See the Guardian report: ‘Government misled public with 99% success rate claim on troubled families, say MPs’. We continue to hope that the Guardian and other papers will start to link readers regularly to key source reports such as the Progress Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Troubled Families Programme this report was based on.
A frantic rise in media reports about press regulation as the government consultation on next steps draws to a close on Tuesday
- There were too many even to list this week but see the two critiques of some of them below for a flavour.
- Sunday Times says it never would have published Lance Armstrong investigation under Section 40 as media ramps up campaign in the Press Gazette on the attempts of many national newspapers to urge readers to respond to the consultation
- Mick Hume: Murdochs genocide denier at Zelo Street
Feature image courtesy of Flickr with thanks to Lauri Heikkinen
This post originally appeared on the Transparency Project blog and is reproduced with permission and thanks.