#Civil Rights
United Kingdom

The Government opened family courts up to greater media scrutiny, in response to criticism that the current set up is overly secretive in April 2009. This was approved by Parliament. Journalists are able to attend family court hearings in county courts and the High Court from 27 April 2009.

‎"The provisions in the Children, Schools and Families Act have been universally condemned and should be abolished, the Justice Select Committee says. Instead, ministers should redraft proposals to increase transparency in the family courts, putting the views of children centre stage."

The subject of newspaper reporting of cases heard in the high court namely to do with private and public law. The Children Act 2004 para 251. Section 62(1) amends section 97 of the Children Act 1989 to make clear that the publication of material from family proceedings which is intended, or likely, to identify any child as being involved in such proceedings (or the address or school of such a child) is only prohibited in relation to publication of information to the public or any section of the public. In effect, this means that passing on information identifying, or likely to identify, a child (his school or his address) as being involved in court proceedings to an individual.

The Court of Appeal has decided that the prohibition from identifying children which section 97 of the Children Act 1989 provides only applies whilst the proceedings relating to the child in question are in progress. Once the proceedings have concluded, the protection given by the Act comes to an end, the entitlement to anonymity thereafter being dependent upon an exercise in balancing the Convention rights of those involved. http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/media/media-releases/2006/news-release-1806

Although statistics are published about cases that pass through the courts, these in their nature cannot answer claims that abuses of the system are not identified and that there are effectively no quality controls.

I am a mother of one. I have had my trials and tribulations being a parent, just as all parents have. Supporting my child in a positive direction; encouraging little one to do well in school and understand the diversities of others. My child and I are the victims of racial harassment promoted by the family court system and rubber stamped by our country. My family case is to do racial harassment by our country. Everyone has a unique story to tell. This is my own. http://wp.me/pXLdg-iY

My Daughter has one kidney, which was damaged when she was born. Her medical records reveal that it was I who nurtured her to recovery. The Doctor sang my praises. Trauma promotes ill health in later life. Furthermore I had eight miscarriages, before little one was born. I was beaten up by the police so they could take her and the one social worker who was in attendance stood there and watched, as my daughter looked on from the middle of the room as we fought rolling around on my settee. There were a number of police officers present.

UK FAMILY COURT JUDGES VIOLATE AND DENY HUMAN RIGHTS OF CHILDREN - There is a clear need to increase transparency in the family courts, putting the views of children centre stage. Once a child is proven to be 'Gillick' competent the child must be allowed to attend Court to give their views to a Judge. Guardians ad litem should not in any circumstance give evidence on behalf of a child that will decide the fate of the child. The Court have a duty to prevent hearsay evidence. It is imperative that Parliament quash the power of Guardians ad litem decision to admit the hearsay of a child as evidence in Private and Public family law matters. The more serious the allegation, the greater the importance of ensuring that the accused parent(s) is afforded fair and proper procedural safeguards in civil and criminal matters. There is no public interest in a wrong result. This must include 'Private and Public' Law cases.

That it is fair to admit the hearsay evidence of a child and a Judge's decision to admit it is irrational and constituted a breach of the claimant's Article 6(1) right to a fair hearing and cannot stand.

Qualitative methods produce information only on the particular cases studied, and any more general conclusions are only hypotheses. Quantitative methods can be used to verify, which of such hypotheses are true. This is what this petition is about.

Family Justice: What We Can Do To Protect Our Children http://wp.me/pXLdg-dE

We, the undersigned, believe that in the best interest of the Child, ministers MUST increase transparency in the family Courts.

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The Increase Transparency in the Family Courts petition to Parliament was written by Ngozi Angeline Godwell and is in the category Civil Rights at GoPetition.