Fresh Move To Open Up Family Courts

Family courts are to be opened to the media, it has been reported. Justice Secretary Jack Straw is set to announce the decision to reverse Government policy next month, according to The Times.

The move would anger many child protection groups but follows years of campaigning for greater openness in hearings determining whether children should be taken into care.

Judge Sir Mark Potter, president of the family division, said he supported opening all cases of children’s removal from their family, except adoptions, to the media.

“It is my firm belief that when people see these cases in action, and the extreme care with which they are dealt — and the fact that so much of what is said comes from interested and disgruntled parties not reporting the matter objectively — it can do nothing but good for the system,” he told The Times.

But Ian Johnson, chief executive of the British Association of Social Workers, expressed concern.

“The nature of some of the information dealt with in family courts should just not be in the public domain.

“I just don’t agree with this argument that having the Press there will result in better social services.”