The purpose of this update is to correct, clarify and comment on media reports of family court cases, to explain and comment on published Judgments of family cases and to highlight other transparency news.
Media Reports of Family Courts Case and Family Justice Issues
- Reports on the sudden death of Hayley Gascoigne in the Hull family court
- The Daily Mail reported at 9pm on Thursday 26th January (updated on the 28th) with Devastated father tells how mother died in court ‘because of stress’ and passed away in her sister’s arms just days after she wrote about how happy she was spending time with her four children. An earlier piece was taken down. The current sub-header says she died ‘as the judge was delivering his ruling’ which is odd given they also say in the same piece that she was in the concourse and the judge was female.
- The Judiciary published a short judgment on Friday 26th explaining the decision to prohibit reporting until 9pm on the day Ms Gascoigne died, to allow an opportunity for the children to be told of their mother’s sudden death, other than by media or social media.
- Despite the judgment making clear the injunction lasted just a few hours until the children could be told and that the cause of death is a matter solely for the police / coroner, various social media parents groups continue to insist it’s obvious she died by the family court, whether due to shock at the ruling or taking something in the toilet in anticipation of the outcome; and that the injunction was to cover up the bias, corruption and discrimination of the family courts who order children to live with their fathers because of systemic male entitlement, not children’s best interests.
- The Hull Mail also reported Judge’s ‘deep sadness’ over death of Hayley Gascoigne at Hull Crown Court.
- Christopher Booker with Gaol if you don’t pay to fly your kids back into care’: It’s an opinion piece on how the family court treat families who are found in contempt of court, based on the case of one woman. We’d love to comment but have yet to find a published judgment from which to do so. (It’s also behind a pay wall).
Media reports we found notably balanced, accurate or otherwise helpful to transparency this week
- The BBC News reported on a couple whose children were adopted 8 years ago, now thought to have been victims of a miscarriage of justice, based on the mothers new diagnosis Ehlers Danloss. While the headline ‘Adopted sons ‘unjustly’ taken from parents’ goes well beyond the ‘may be’ accurately used by their solicitor, the report does accurately explain that they are unlikely to succeed in an application to overturn the adoption but may be able to obtain a review of the findings of fact against them upon which the decision was based.
- And in case you missed these blogs…
- From one extreme to another: media reports on the role of social workers in the death of Poppy Widdison (See also Sophie Ayers subsequently in Community Care on creating a culture of learning and the treatment of mistakes in social work)
- Imaginary Judges use imaginary powers to reform imaginary law: The Guardian report judges changing court rules on domestic violence.
New Published Cases for Explanation or Comment
- The Court of Appeal on breach of statutory duty and damages awards in London Borough of Hackney v Williams & Anor. We are updating our blog post ‘When Child Protection goes wrong: what compensation can you get’ to feature this case and will also be updating our s.20 guidance here.
- X v X (anonymisation)  EWHC 3512 (Fam). Blog to follow on this Bodey J judgment which is interesting on transparency in the context of a financial remedy application in the family court.
- Iqbal v Iqbal  EWCA Civ 19. Family Court Reporting Watch explainer blog to follow. (See also DB Family Law blog, including on the duty to give reasons )
And in case you missed this blog…
And in other transparency news
- Press Regulation: Inforrm reports News Media Associations application for permission for a judicial review of Impress’ recognition by the Press Recognition Panel (PRP); and that any decision on whether to enact Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act is set to be delayed until the outcome of the other application for judicial review of the Government consultation itself (on whether to enact Section 40 and hold part two of the Leveson Inquiry, into phone-hacking and the relationship between police and the press).
- Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO): See An entirely predictable catastrophe by Chris Minnoch of the Legal Aid Practitioners Group at Legal Voice on LASPO and the government review.
- SCIE consulting on supporting social work by use of information and technology. The Health and Care Professions (HCPC) are also consulting on understanding stakeholder needs, closing on 6th February. Both are explained and the links provided by BASW here.
- The Case for Online Courts: lecture & panel discussion at UCL. Thursday 16 February 2017 17:30 – 19:00, Darwin Lecture Theatre (UCL, Darwin Building, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT). Tickets can be booked here.
- Digital Delivery of Legal Services to People on Low Incomes report The Legal Education Foundation have published an update to a regular report identifying advances being made in the use of information technology to aid the provision of legal services for people on low incomes.
And in case you missed these blogs…
- Transparency in the Court of Protection and the Family Courts: The Presidents view
- Domestic violence and family proceedings: practice direction amendments to protect vulnerable witnesses and children
- Dossier claims children unnecessarily removed from parents
Feature image courtesy of Flickr with thanks to Lauri Heikkinen
This post originally appeared on the Transparency Project blog and is reproduced with permission and thanks.