Updated guidance has recently been released suggesting Family Courts should be more accommodating to reporters seeking to cover proceedings.
The guidance, initially published in May under the former president, Sir James Mumby, which allowed accredited journalists to attend, but not report on cases, has been updated further.
Under the updated guidance, it is suggested the courts should be more accommodating to reporters stating, "At the start of a hearing attended by a reporter, the judge should enquire if such an application is to be made and, if there is none at that stage, invite the reporter to alert the court if the situation changes, either at a convenient stage during the hearing or at its conclusion."
The guidance further continues, "When an application is made, the court, and any advocate appearing for parties to the proceedings, should provide assistance in terms of the relevant law and procedure to be followed. Any party opposing the application may then make submissions. The reporter should then be given an opportunity to reply."
Further protection is also given in relation to costs.
I have not had any experience yet of reporters attending any family hearings, but would be interested to know if anybody else has come across this issue?
In the final version of guidance for courts dealing with applications from journalists published today, Sir Andrew McFarlane says: 'Courts should be astute to assist reporters seeking to attend a hearing, or to relax reporting restrictions, and should provide them with relevant contact details of the court office, the judge’s clerk and the parties where requested'.