The law governing reporting restrictions in family hearings

is fairly uncertain with differences of opinion among even the Judges of

different divisions. Holman J is in favour of no press restrictions in

his Court of Appeal cases, whereas other Judges, including Mostyn J, are

applying the law more conservatively. Further judicial clarification is

arguably needed.

In fitting timing, the House of Commons Library has also

very recently published a briefing paper looking at the issue of

confidentiality and openness in the family court. The paper is available

to download here:

The paper sets out the current rules on transparency, media attendance and the

publication of judgments, as well as the rules on contempt of court, a history

of recent changes to the transparency of the family courts, including the

recent direction on the publication of judgments, and consultation on further

measures to improve transparency by the President of the Family Division.

News Group Newspapers have been granted permission to appeal

the ruling in Appleton v Gallagher. This is a hot topic at present and I

have little doubt that these arguments will resurface again soon.