The issue of family justice and the reporting of cases has been an area of real tension. There are concerns about “secret justice” set against legitimate expectations of privacy and confidentiality for the family, especially the child.
In July 2011, a document entitled The family courts: media access and reporting was produced as a result of discussions between the Lord Chief Justice and a group of lawyers and journalists. This sets out the current law on the family courts and media access and reporting. It provides practical guidance for journalists, judges and practitioners on what can and cannot be done.
The guidance refers to the case of Re Ward (A Child) (2010) which Mills & Reeve were involved in. In that case, Munby J found that information which would otherwise have been restricted did not engage the private interests of anyone other than the Ward family, who were the party seeking permission to publish the information. The judge also decided that expert witnesses in the case could not remain anonymous.