The Newspaper Society has given a “qualified welcome” to Justice Secretary Jack Straw's announcement that family courts will be opened to the media in April.
Sue Oake, NS senior legal advisor, said: “We are delighted that Jack Straw has reinstated the government’s original proposal to allow the media access to all tiers of family courts, recognising the vital role of the media in safeguarding transparency and upholding the open justice principle, as the NS has consistently argued for.
“We will want to scrutinise carefully the proposals for reporting restrictions – clearly these will need to be proportionate and targeted: to impose a blanket “default” requirement of anonymity for all parties will result in a restrictions more draconian, in many cases, than those pertaining already. We are particularly concerned by the proposal to reverse Clayton V Clayton. “
“On disclosure of information, we are disappointed that the statement does not make any move towards allowing direct or indirect disclosure to the media by parties to the proceedings. Again, with appropriate safeguards, this could have been an effective means to aid openness so we are pleased to note Mr Straw’s assurance during the Parliamentary debate that he is still “actively considering” this issue.”