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SONIA RUTH CRAWFORD and JUSTIN PIERCE, School of Law, University of East London
In April 2009 the rules inserted by the Family Proceedings (Amendment) (No 2) Rules (SI 2009/857), came into force. These rules permit accredited members of the press to attend most family court proceedings. The press are granted, as of right and without notice of attendance, authority to attend throughout proceedings normally held in private. The rationale behind the introduction of these rules was to dispel the shroud of secrecy surrounding the decision making and functioning of the family law court system. The new rules on press attendance and case reporting in the family courts demonstrate the ineffectiveness and dangers posed by the last government's bowing to political pressure and rushing through changes to the law.
This article considers the extent of the 2009 rules and their possible advantages and disadvantages, in particular the impact on proceedings involving marital breakdown, the resulting financial proceedings and proceedings involving children. The first question to consider is the effect the new restrictions will have, if any, on the court's power and duty to protect the child and his identity. The second question for consideration is what, if any, influence the 2009 rules will have on the reporting of ancillary relief proceedings.
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