The Courts and Tribunals Judiciary has announced the extension of a groundbreaking Family Court reporting pilot.
The Transparency Implementation Group Reporting Pilot is being extended to 16 more courts across the country, after an initial run at the family courts in Leeds, Cardiff and Carlisle, which began in late January 2023.
The pilot introduces 'a presumption that accredited media and legal bloggers may report on what they see and hear during family court cases, subject to strict rules of anonymity'. Judges in the pilot courts will make Transparency Orders, which will set out the rules in respect of what can and cannot be reported.
By rolling the pilot out to additional courts, the Judiciary aims to explore the impact of reporting on the courts system and judges, as well as on the people involved in family proceedings, and the media.
As of 29 January 2024, the additional courts participating in the pilot are as follows:
- North West: Liverpool, Manchester
- North East: West Yorkshire, Kingston-upon-Hull
- Midlands: Nottingham, Stoke, Derby, Birmingham
- London: Central Family Court, East London, West London
- South West: Dorset, Truro
- South East: Luton, Guildford, Milton Keynes
Commenting on the scheme, Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division, said, "Extending the reporting pilot to family courts across the country is a huge step in the judiciary's ongoing work to increase transparency and improve public confidence and understanding of the family justice system.
"We hope than in extending the pilot further we can continue to understand the impact that family court reporting has. I would like to urge the media to read the guidance and come to the family courts to see the vital and challenging work that is done there, and to report on the cases and issues that are so important."