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Access to and Reporting of Family Proceedings

Date:22 NOV 2005

Mr Justice Munby. This paper was given at Jordans Family Law Conference in London in October 2005 and considers the various restrictions that apply in cases involving children. The paper looks at the restrictions on access to family courts and on the reporting of family proceedings. The High Court has jurisdiction both to relax and to increase restrictions. A judge can authorise disclosure of what would otherwise be prohibited, or he can impose additional restrictions. That involves the exercise of discretion, the carrying out of a balancing exercise, where a number of often conflicting rights and interests have to be evaluated. The paper illustrates the kind of complexity to which the balancing exercise can sometimes give rise. Munby J says there is scope for the proposition that our present rules and practices pay too much regard to the arguments in favour of privacy and confidentiality and do not pay sufficient heed to the damage being done to public confidence in the system. See December [2005] Fam Law 945 for the full article.

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