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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

12 JAN 2007

Confidence and Confidentiality - an Open and Shut Case?

Deborah Cullen, Secretary to the Legal Group, British Association for Adoption & Fostering. The debate on extending openness in the family court will the author trusts continue, even after the closing date for responses to the Department for Constitutional Affairs' consultation paper, Confidence and Confidentiality: Improving Transparency and Privacy in Family Courts, Cm 6886 (TSO, 2006).

The consultation paper argues for greater openness in the family courts in order that the public can have confidence in their work" but also makes proposals for protecting the privacy of the personal lives of those involved in family proceedings, particularly children. It considers that both aims are achievable (p 39), but this claim is somewhat undermined by the special case made for greater privacy in adoption proceedings (These proceedings often deal with quite sensitive information regarding the adopters, such as their identity, background and their capacity to parent the child. If this information entered the public domain, then this could lead to the adoptive placement being disrupted or might discourage prospective adopters from going through the adoption process". See January [2007] Fam Law for the full article.

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