Jack Straw fury over civil service sabotage of family court moves

Justice secretary Jack Straw has reiterated his intention that family courts should become “as open and transparent as possible” under reforms which come into force today.

The Society of Editors expressed concern last week that last-minute changes to the new rules would render the reforms meaningless and allow the much-criticised secret courts, which have the power to take children away from their parents, to continue.

But according to the Mail on Sunday, Straw is furious at “civil servants’ bid to sabotage open justice”. And it quotes an MoJ source as saying “rest assured that we will get where Jack wants to get”.

There was a further encouraging signal on media access to the courts from president of the High Court family division Sir Mark Potter, quoted in The Guardian today.

He said: “I do not doubt that there will be more reports than there have been.”

Director of the Society of Editors Bob Satchwell told Press Gazette this morning: “I know that Jack Straw is taking our concerns very seriously and he’s determined to open up the family courts as he promised last December.

“We recognise there will always be restrictions to protect children but the Justice Secretary said that the default switch should be towards openness wherever possible.”

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