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Family Division seeks evidence for Transparency Review

Date:4 FEB 2020
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The president of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has begun a review of current arrangements on the regulation of public access to information in family proceedings. As part of this Transparency Review, he is inviting people to submit evidence, advice or any other relevant material. Of particular interest is comment relating to the balance between the need of confidentiality and the need of public transparency. 
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The President has invited a small panel to assist him in this task.

The panel members are:

  • Dr Eia Asen (consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist)
  • Anthony Douglas CBE (former chief executive of CAFCASS)
  • Clare Dyer (former Legal Editor of The Guardian)
  • Nicola Shaw CBE (Executive Director of National Grid).

Submissions on the following questions are likely to be of particular value:

– is the line currently drawn correctly between, on the one hand, the need for confidentiality for the parties and children whose personal information may be the subject of proceedings in the Family Court, and, on the other hand, the need for the public to have confidence in the work that these courts undertake on behalf of the State and society?

– if not, what steps should be taken to achieve either greater openness or increased confidentiality?

– any observations on the Practice Guidance: Family Court- Anonymisation Guidance issued by the President on 7 December 2018 and the President’s Guidance as to reporting in the Family Courts, issued on 29 October 2019. Please see links to this Guidance below:



Responses can be submitted to the President’s Private Office by 2 March.