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Practical guide on media reporting of family law cases issued

Date:1 AUG 2011

Family DivisionA practical guide on media reporting of family law cases has been issued by the President of the Family Division, the Judicial College and the Society of Editors.

The guide draws together various statutes, rules and common law principles which affect the ability of the media to inform the public about family proceedings, and sets out a statement of the current state of the law.

The guide was drafted by two media law barristers, Adam Wolanski and Kate Wilson, of 5RB and One Brick Court chambers. It provides useful guidance for journalists, judges and practitioners alike.

In the preface, the President of the Family Division Sir Nicholas Wall, and the Director of the Society of Editors, Bob Satchwell said: "There is no more difficult issue in family justice than the reporting of cases. There is a tension between concerns about "secret justice" and legitimate expectations of privacy and confidentiality for the family. Both standpoints are valid, and the question is whether they are irreconcilable.

"Against this background, and under the wise tutelage of the Lord Chief Justice, a group of lawyers and journalists, including representatives from both the print and broadcast media, have got together to talk to each other. As part of these discussions, they commissioned a paper which would set out a statement of the current state of the law in this most complex area."