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Family Law

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01 MAR 2011

Can the Press be Trusted?

His Honour Judge Clifford Bellamy

Designated Family Judge for Warwickshire and Coventry

As a solicitor, I quite enjoyed my occasional contact with the media - Joshua Rozenberg on the telephone; an ITV film crew in my garden; it was heady stuff. When I became a judge I thought I had left all of that behind me. For most of my 15 year judicial career I have been able to keep my head well below the media radar. Until 2010, my only brush with the media was in 1996 when, as a District Judge in Leeds, I dealt with an assessment of damages hearing at which the jazz singer George Melly appeared as an expert witness - wearing a bright purple suit and matching hat. He had been called to give evidence about surrealist art - or, more particularly, about the work of Craig Richards and the Non-Euclidean movement. Suffice to say that the day after the hearing the case was treated to a half-page spread in The Times.

2010 was a much more challenging year. Two family cases I presided over received quite a bit of publicity. That has given me a different perspective on the debate about openness and transparency in the Family Courts.

To read the rest of this article, see March [2011] Family Law journal.

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