UK Family Law Reform

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http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/law/article2209807.ece

More family cases go behind closed doors.

Thousands of children’s care cases will be heard behind closed doors under proposals from the Lord Chancellor yesterday that extend courts’ powers to exclude the media.

In a significant about-turn, Lord Falconer of Thoroton ditched earlier plans to give the media a right to attend family courts after opposition from children and children’s organisations. He admitted that he had changed his mind about opening up the courts, as outlined last year.

But he insisted that this would allow more and better information to emerge and that it would better protect the interest of children and the public.

In addition, instead of opening up the county courts and High Court, which operate largely behind closed doors in children’s cases, he outlined plans to bring consistency across all courts, including closing magistrates’ courts. However, magistrates and judges will have power to allow in the media, on application.

Lord Falconer said yesterday: “I have listened to the views of children and young people. The clear message was that the media should not be given an automatic right to attend family courts as this could jeopardise children’s rights to privacy and anonymity.”

The new approach would improve information coming out of courts rather than “concentrate on who can go in”, he said.

Lord Falconer lodged details of his amended proposals in Parliament yesterday, prompting a three-month consultation period ending on October 1.

After that, some of the changes will be introduced by order, while others will require legislation in Parliament.

A pilot scheme will be conducted to assess the impact of the new rules on those affected.

Have your say

I have not been ''permitted'' to see or speak to my three children for five years. I have never experienced such a sick and evil legal system which we call ''family law.'' Not only are the media excluded from these hearings, but so are the public.

These family law hearings are not there to protect the children, this is another lie by this government and its agents, e.g HMCS & The DCA, who have hired thousands of civil servants to abduct children from parents, ''under the law,'' which they do for money.

The hearings are held in private because this allows the judges, the lawyers and the court staff to make money from snatching children from parents without any legal reason.

The ''evidence'' placed before a family law court cannot be questioned. The ''evidence'' is created by government agents. The expert witness being the most vile offender, all funded by the tax payer.

This evil trade of snatching children for money is exposed thanks to the media. Compensation awaits

C J, LONDON, UK

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