There are always interesting debates going on inside Westminster, but a question presented by Lord Stoddart of Swindon has just caught our eye.

In a written question presented at the House of Lords, Lord Stoddart asks the following about disclosure of information inside the family courts:

“To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will introduce measures to open the proceedings of the family courts and the Court of Protection to the press and public; and, if not, why not.”

The answer, given yesterday by Lord Faulks, is added below:

“The Government supports steps to increase openness whilst remaining mindful of the rights to privacy of those involved in such personal proceedings.

Since May 2009, amendments to the rules of court governing the practice and procedure to be followed in family proceedings have allowed accredited members of the media access to the majority of court hearings.

In January 2014 the President of the Family Division issued guidance requiring more judgments of both the Family Court and Court of Protection to be published online.

In August 2014 the President of the Family Division issued a consultation seeking views on the impact of these earlier steps to increase transparency in the family court and on ways to further increase transparency including, the possibility of public access. The Court of Protection Rule Committee is also taking forward work which will examine the benefits and risks of making rule changes which allow greater access to the media and public.” 

So what do you think? Should we have more transparency inside the courts, and if so, how would it work in practice and who would be involved?

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