The opening up of the family courts to the media and public has been put on hold until the outcome of the Family Justice Review is known, ministers announced today.
Justice minister Jonathan Djanogly and children’s minister Tim Loughton issued a written ministerial statement that said that although the Children, Schools and Families Act 2010 sanctioned the opening up of the courts and had been given royal assent in April, the provisions had not yet commenced.
“This is a sensitive issue, on which a broad range of views have been strongly expressed. It is important that the Family Justice System is properly understood and commands public confidence. At the same time there is a clear need to protect the privacy of vulnerable children and adults involved in cases in the family courts.
“We have decided to wait until the Family Justice Review has published its final report before determining whether to commence these provisions, which will allow us to consider the changes Part 2 of the Act would introduce in light of the Review’s recommendations for reform of the family justice system.”
The move will be widely welcomed by children’s commissioner Maggie Atkinson, children’s charities, guardians and children’s lawyers who all campaigned fiercely against the opening up of the courts, claiming it would put children at risk.
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