Judge vows to open up family courts to the public
Monday 11 November 2013
One of the country’s most senior judges has vowed to “open to the world” the workings of the family courts and the shadowy Court of Protection.
Sir James Munby – president of the Court of Protection – said “transparency” and “publicity” were key to boosting confidence in the courts.
The Court of Protection, which deals with the property, financial affairs and personal welfare of people who lack mental capacity to make decisions for themselves, is closed to the media.
And family courts, which deal with divorce cases and adoption among other personal issues, are open for journalists to attend but they can be prevented from reporting details and parents involved in cases are often prevented by law from speaking publicly.
Sir James said: "It is vital that public confidence in the family justice system is maintained or, if eroded, restored. There is a clear and obvious public interest in maintaining the confidence of the public at large in the courts.
"It is vitally important, if the administration of justice is to be promoted and public confidence in the courts maintained, that justice be administered in public - or at least in a manner which enables its workings to be properly scrutinised - so that the judges and other participants in the process remain visible and amenable to comment and criticism."
He added: "We must be open to the world - much more open that at present - in what we do both in the family courts and in the Court of Protection."
Sir James said changes to primary legislation are unlikely in the near future, so the necessary changes must be achieved within the existing framework.
After introducing final guidelines on the publication of judgements, the judge said he would then consider steps to allow the media access to at least some of the documents used in court.
- 1 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 2 West poised to join forces with President Assad in face of Islamic State
- 3 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for pageant
- 4 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 5 Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
West poised to join forces with President Assad in face of Islamic State
Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
£30000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global investment management fi...
£65000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CC...
£70000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, C...
£60000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(Design, ...