Monday, 27 July 2009

Fools rush in ...

I have long argued that admitting the press to the Family Courts is far from wise.

I have two important concerns. The first is that having more people in the court - especially ones who are there primarily in a voyeristic capacity- will make the process more difficult for all concerned. It will be particularly difficult for children and young people if they have to give evidence. My second concern is that it will be very difficult in practice to ensure that children and other parties are not identified. Seemingly irrelevant or trivial details may be sufficient to identify individuals to their friends and neighbours.

Now the Guardian (26th July 2009) reports some level of chaos in arrangements for press attendance. It seems that the rules are confusing and not well understood. It can only be a matter of time before a significant lapse occurs and a child or young person suffers the indignity of having their family's dirty washing aired in public.

While his predecessor trod cautiously in this difficult area, Jack Straw seems hell bent on appeasing the red tops by extending press access. Sad.