The Newspaper Society today (21 July) issued a statement to say it welcomed the conclusions of a justice committee report that called for government to scrap the provisions in the Children, Schools and Families Act 2010, which would allow media access to family courts.
The committee report was actually published last week, but in an article today, the society claims the provisions, if brought into force as they stand, “would have resulted in a renewed regime of secrecy – instead of opening up the family courts, as originally intended”.
The NS had said this “will not only fail to deliver the desired public accountability but will represent a major reduction in what can now be lawfully published and will actually further reduce public debate and discussion of the family justice system”.
However, the society added that it is “disappointed” at what it claims is an impression given by the report that “the desire for greater openness and accountability in the family justice system, and that of preserving privacy for the families involved, particularly children, are positions which are necessarily polarised”.
Sue Oake, senior legal adviser at the Newspaper Society, said: “The media has repeatedly stressed that it entirely accepts the need to ensure anonymity for the children and families concerned and we are disappointed that once again this does not appear to have been sufficiently acknowledged.”