Access to family courts has been granted to legal bloggers

Access to family courts has been granted to legal bloggers

A pilot scheme, pioneered by the Transparency Project, has been launched to allow certain lawyers to attend family proceedings to report on proceedings as legal bloggers.

Whilst journalists have been able to attend private family cases since 2009, it is understood that they have been reluctant to do so either because they know little about what a case is about beforehand, or they do not know whether to do so would be worthwhile. In contrast, legal bloggers will have the necessary knowledge to accurately report on proceedings. It is hoped by legal professionals that this scheme will enhance transparency in the process and help to make family justice clearer to members of the public, by providing the public with additional sources of information about family courts and what they may expect within proceedings.

Lawyers wishing to partake in the pilot scheme will only be able to attend private hearings for journalistic, research or public legal educational purposes. They will also continue to be bound by any restrictions on publication, including in respect of the identification of the parties and any children.

The parties involved in a case can object to a legal blogger being present during a hearing and the judge hearing the case will need to be satisfied that justice will not be prejudiced by the legal blogger’s presence.

The pilot scheme concludes on 30 June 2019.