Warning on plan to open family courts

Government proposals to open the family courts to the press and public could undermine safeguards for children, lawyers and paediatricians say.

A consultation due next spring is expected to propose a range of measures from publishing all judgements to allowing full access to the courts.

Sir Alan Craft, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, warned the prospect of “public pillorying” could deter expert witnesses from giving evidence.

Philip Moor, chair of the Family Law Bar Association, said family court processes could be made public without giving access to individual cases. He said most clients opposed any publicity.

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