Family Division President Sir Andrew McFarlane has launched a new review of ‘transparency’ measures within the family courts.

Greater public and media access to family court proceedings was a favoured topic of Sir Andrew’s predecessor, the now retired Sir James Munby, who pushed for greater transparency in response to frequent press claims that the family courts were excessively secretive.

Sir Andrew’s new review, on the regulation of public access to information about family proceedings, will be run by a panel of four non-lawyers:

  • A consultant psychiatrist specialising in children and young people
  • The former chief executive of Cafcass (the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service)
  • A senior legal journalist
  • The executive director of the National Grid

The review is seeking views and evidence from interested parties on how best to balance the benefits of open access and public confidence in the courts with the need for privacy in relation to more sensitive issues: for example, personal information in contested divorce cases or the identification of children).

Submissions should be sent via email to The deadline is March 2.

Image by Brian Hawkins via Flickr (Creative Commons)