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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

14 MAR 2016

Sleepless nights reporting the family courts

Louise  Tickle

Education and social affairs journalist


Sleepless nights reporting the family courts

Annie Bertram had her newborn baby taken into care shortly after care orders had been granted on two of her other children. I heard Annie speak about her fight to get her baby back at the Transparency Project conference in June last year, and immediately knew I wanted to write about what she and her family had been through. But care proceedings are held in private: publishing details is usually a contempt.

This article for Family Law explains how, with pro-bono support from barristers Lucy Reed and Sarah Phillimore, I went to court to argue for the right to tell Annie’s story. Subject to changing certain identifying details about the family, we succeeded in convincing a judge to allow my application to relax section 12 of the Administration of Justice Act 1960, and the feature was published in Guardian Weekend on 20 February

Annie, who writes the Surviving Safeguarding website and tweets at @survivecourt, now contributes to social worker training and is setting up a parental advocacy service for families involved with the child protection system.

Louise has been longlisted for the George Orwell Journalism Prize for this article and her Guardian features. 

The above article appears in the November issue of Family Law at [2015] Fam Law 1304 and has been made available, free of charge, as a service to our readers.

A PDF version of the article is available to download here.

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