Transparency in the Family Court part 2

In part 1 of this legal blot, which can be found here:

we discussed how the transparency in the family courts has been expanded.

In this blog we will be discussing:

  1. Whether the extended transparency pilot apply to your court? And
  2. If so, do you know what to do if a reporter attends a family court hearing?

The aim of the pilot is to introduce a presumption that legal bloggers and accredited media may report on what they see and hear during family court cases, subject to strict rules of anonymity.

“Openness and confidentiality are not irreconcilable, and each is achievable. The aim is to enhance public confidence significantly, whilst at the same time firmly protecting continued confidentiality.” 

President of the Family Division, October 2021 Confidence and Confidentiality: Transparency in the Family Court.

The Family Courts

The new pilot has been extended from 29 January 2024, and now applies in addition to family courts in:

  • Cardiff
  • Carlisle and
  • Leeds

To the following additional family courts in:

  • Birmingham
  • Central Family Court (London)
  • Derby
  • Dorset
  • East London
  • Guildford
  • Kingston-upon-Hull
  • Liverpool
  • Luton
  • London
    • Central Family Court (London)
    • East London
    • West London
  • Manchester
  • Milton Keynes
  • Nottingham
  • West Yorkshire

What you need to know:


  1. Reporters (journalists with a press card) and lawyers (legal bloggers) can attend the family court with the exception of some cases, such as adoption hearings.
    • They can attend remotely or
    • in person
  2. Parents or litigants can speak to reporters or legal bloggers.
  3. Reporters or legal bloggers do not have to reveal how they became aware of the case.
  4. Reporters or legal bloggers do not need to give notice of their attendance.
    • If notice is given to the court, the court will inform parties and their legal representatives that a reporter or legal blogger is intending to attend.
  5. The court will draft a Transparency Order either prior to the hearing if notice has been given or at the beginning of the hearing if notice has not been given.
    • The Transparency Order will set out what can and cannot be reported upon and the need to protect the identity of the children who are involved or are subject to the proceedings.
    • The Transparency Order will consider what if any, key documents are to be disclosed to assist the reporter or legal blogger in understanding the issues in the case.
    • Restrictions can be placed on these documents, such as no further distribution or publication.
  6. Reporters or legal bloggers cannot attend non lawyer reviews at the Family Drug and Alcohol Courts


  1. If a reporter or legal blogger is present, the judge will introduce them and deal with any issues of objections.
  2. If anyone objects to the reporter or legal blogger’s attendance, the court will hear from all parties, including the report or legal blogger.
  3. The court can restrict the reports or legal bloggers from all or part of a hearing.
  4. The transparency order will be served on the reporter or legal blogger
  5. At the end of the hearing, consideration of time can be provided for the reporter or legal blogger to raise any issues regarding the scope of the Transparency Order, such as seeking disclosure of other documents.
  6. The case management order should record the name and contact details of the reporter or legal blogger who attended or if they were excluded.


  1. The court can restrict the reports or legal bloggers from all or part of a hearing.
  2. If anyone objects to the reporter or legal blogger’s attendance, the court will hear from all parties, including the report or legal blogger.
  3. The court can restrict publication or information being excluded from the publication or reporting is to be delayed until for example after an event or a criminal trial.
  4. The courts listed above permit reporters and legal bloggers to publish anonymised reporting of the case and its details unless the court has imposed any reporting restrictions.
  5. The court or any party is not able to request sight of the draft publication for approval.

What cannot be published:

  1. The name or date of birth of any subject child/ren in the case;
  2. The name of any parent or family member who is a party or who is mentioned in the case, or whose name may lead to the child(ren) being identified;
  3. The name of any person who is a party to, or intervening in the proceedings;
  4. The address of any child or family member;
  5. The name or address of any foster carer;
  6. The school/hospital/placement name or address, or any identifying features of a school of the child;
  7. Photographs or images of the child, their parents, carer or any other identifying person, or any of the locations specified above in conjunction with other information relating to the proceedings. This includes photographs of the parents or other parties leaving the Court building;
  8. The names of any medical professional who is or has been treating any of the children or family member;
  9. In cases involving alleged sexual abuse, the details of such alleged abuse;
  10. Any other information likely to identify the child as a subject child or former subject child.

What can be published:

  1. The local authority/authorities involved in the proceedings;
  2. The director and assistant director of Children’s Services within the LA (but usually not the social workers working directly with the family, including the Team Manager, unless the Court so orders);
  3. Senior personnel at Cafcass but not normally the reporting officer, or children’s guardian named in the case;
  4. Any NHS Trust;
  5. Court appointed experts;
  6. Legal representatives and judges;
  7. Anyone else named in a published judgment.

For additional resources:

The Transparency Reporting Pilot- 26 January 2023

A guidance note for judges and professionals has been produced by the Transparency Project and can be accessed by clicking here:

How we can help

We are specialists in providing legal and social care training. If you require bespoke and practical skilled training on any legal or social care matters, please contact us for a no-obligation discussion of your training needs.


The content of this legal briefing is the copyright of Kingsley Knight Training. It can be printed and downloaded free of charge in an unaltered form temporarily for personal use or reference purposes. However, it is prohibited for any content printed or downloaded to be sold, licensed, transferred, copied, or reproduced in whole or in part in any manner or in or on any media to any person without the prior consent of Kingsley Knight.


The contents of this guide are for information and are not intended to be relied upon as legal advice

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.