Family Court Judgments to be made public

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This month saw a landmark decision by Lord Justice Munby, the most senior family judge in England and Wales.

Family Law

Lord Justice Munby has decided that the future judgments, including decisions made by local authorities about where children should live, are to be published unless there are "compelling reasons" not to.

The new rules, which are due to come into force later this year, will mean that judgments will be published and subject to public scrutiny. Launching the new Rules, Lord Justice Munby said: "There is a need for greater transparency in order to improve public understanding of the Court process and confidence in the Court system."

Clare Linden, Partner and Childcare Lawyer at Simpson Millar LLP, commented: "This is an important decision, which means that Court decisions will be under public scrutiny. Local authorities and experts involved in proceedings will be named in controversial cases."

"The types of cases that this decision will apply to are often the most complicated and emotional cases for families. For example, proceedings where children have been removed from their parent’s care and placed in local authority foster Care."

Miss Linden also commented: "At Simpson Millar LLP we recognise that social workers do a difficult job and indeed a vital one, in the protection of children from harm. However, when Social Services become involved with a family, it is imperative that legal advice is obtained to ensure that the right decisions are being made about the children’s welfare."

"When Social Services become involved with families, parents are often unaware of their rights and can feel unsupported and unheard. It is crucially important that all parents are given a voice within the court process."


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