Media access to family proceedings
Media access to family proceedings

The following Family guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Media access to family proceedings
  • Provisions
  • Requirements
  • Procedure to restrict media access to family proceedings
  • Pilot FPR 2010, PD 36J—attendance at court of ‘legal bloggers’
  • The media in the courtroom
  • Text messages
  • Reporting restrictions
  • Contempt provisions
  • Case law

Following various government consultations, the family courts were opened to the media with effect from 27 April 2009. Provisions in relation to media access are now set out in Family Procedure Rules 2010 (FPR 2010), SI 2010/2955, Pt 27 and the accompanying practice directions (PDs), in particular FPR 2010, PD 27B.

In January 2014, the President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, issued guidance on transparency, widening the publication of judgments in family proceedings, see Practice Guidance (Transparency in the Family Courts) [2014] Lexis Citation 3 and Practice Notes: Transparency in the family courts and Standard orders—transparency orders.

The 'Review of anonymised judgments on Bailii: Children, privacy and "jigsaw identification"', published by the Association of Lawyers for Children and the National Youth Advocacy Service in October 2015, examined the potential impact of family judges publishing judgments on the Bailii website and the adequacy of the anonymisation process.

In October 2018, Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) issued guidance to staff to support and facilitate the media attending proceedings. See: HMCTS courts and tribunals media guidance released for staff (LNB News 24/10/2018 121). On 5 March 2020, updated guidance outlining how best to work alongside the media was issued to all court and tribunal staff in England and Wales. The guidance includes a separate guide for family courts.

The Courts and Tribunals Judiciary announced

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