Public hearings in criminal and civil courts usually display the names of the people involved, but until recently, family cases have only been listed by their case numbers.
President of the Family Division of the High Court, Sir James Munby, said the public had a right to know “what is being done in their name.” It has also been said that there is a “pressing need” for more transparency in the family justice system by the most senior family court judge in England and Wales, Sir Edward James Holman.
Only cases concerning either divorce or disputes over finances will be listed. Any cases concerning children will still be listed with just their case numbers.
Former MP John Hemming campaigns for improvements in the family justice system and welcomes the move, saying, “I am pleased to see further progress on transparency.”
What Does This Mean For You?
This change in the family justice system means that if you are going through a divorce or court case involving financial matters, the court list, which shows which cases are to be heard on that day, may show your surname.
The majority of family law cases will continue to be heard in private so that members of the public cannot be present to hear the detailed discussion of your case. Although journalists can be allowed to attend, judges can impose strict restrictions on what can be reported.
Senior Family Lawyer Vicki McLynn says, “These changes reflect a general view within family law of the need for greater openness. Those considering a divorce should not, however, worry that their private affairs will become the focus of public attention as judges will maintain strict control over what information can be made available to the public.”
Slater and Gordon have an expert team of family law solicitors who can assist with any family law or divorce issues you may have. For an initial consultation call us on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help.