Falconer: journalists no automatic right to attend family courts

Secretary of State for Justice Lord Falconer today unveiled plans which he claimed would create greater transparency in family courts.

Speaking at a press briefing this morning Falconer proposed the development of an online ‘hub’to provide general information about the various tiers of a family court, how the judiciary reaches its decisions and helping those involved in proceedings.

More information would be made available for people involved in proceedings and those subject to proceedings as children from the courts on how decisions are made under the new proposals.

He said that where there is a clear public interest a transcript or decision summary which has been anonymised will be publicly available and that rules on reporting restrictions will be clarified.

Lord Falconer said: ‘Family courts make far-reaching decisions which permanently affect the lives of the people involved. Where children are involved, their welfare must be of paramount importance.

‘I have listened to the views of children and young people. The clear message was the media should not be given an automatic right to attend family courts as this could jeopardise children’s rights to privacy and anonymity.

‘We need instead a new approach which concentrates on improving the information coming out of family courts, rather than on who can go in.”

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