Members of the Family Division’s Transparency Implementation Group (TIG) were banned from tweeting during group meetings or discussing the meetings with others, at the TIG’s first conference on 15 December, 2021.

President of the Family Division Andrew McFarlane who chairs the group, said real-time tweets about the meetings and any conversations outside of the gatherings would be “unhelpful”, in minutes published on 5 January, 2022. The statement appears to be an attempt to stem public discussions about goings-on at the meetings.

In a section titled “Etiquette” members were told: “Live tweeting, or the discussion of specific details from meetings would be unhelpful as this could occur before firm conclusions had been reached, and could therefore impact on the group’s ability to have open, candid discussions or result in mixed

The minutes also outlined a proposal for four new sub-groups: press attendance and reporting; data collection; media engagement; and the anonymisation and publication of judgments.

However the minutes did not mention the judiciary’s publication of a controversial family court transcript in November which was taken down following concerns about the graphic nature of the document.

No explanation has yet been given about how the judgment was approved, whether its publication was discussed with the parents and other family members in the case, and if anyone from the President’s office has spoken to the judge who approved the transcript for publication.

The minutes included several additional suggestions including the involvement of people with lived experience in each sub-group, and that “the impact of the group’s work on families and children would be integral to the work of all the sub-groups and would be evaluated on an ongoing basis.”

Terms of reference for the group and each sub-group have not been finalised, however the group hopes to complete its work by the end of the year. The next meeting for the group has been scheduled for March, 2022.

The minutes of TIG’s meeting can be accessed here.