Transparency in the Family Courts: Guidance by the President of the Family Division

|High Court

There appears to be uncertainty about the status of ANONYMISATION AND AVOIDANCE OF THE IDENTIFICATION OF CHILDREN & THE TREATMENT OF EXPLICIT DESCRIPTIONS OF THE SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN IN JUDGMENTS INTENDED FOR THE PUBLIC ARENA: JUDICIAL GUIDANCE published in August 2016 by the Association of Lawyers for Children and Dr Julia Brophy.

This is a valuable piece of academic research and analysis, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, whose publication and wide dissemination I fully supported. However, it is important to appreciate that it is only that. It has no official status. It has not been approved or issued as Guidance by me or the judges. It is therefore not judicial guidance in the sense in which many would understand that phrase.

As has been made clear, see September [2016] Family Law 1067 and October [2016] Fam Law 1266, I am currently considering Dr Brophy’s work with a view to deciding the form any Guidance which I may issue should take. My intention is to consult on my proposals before I issue any formal Guidance.

James Munby
President of the Family Division

18 October 2016

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