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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

05 JUL 2006

The Hershman/Levy Memorial Lecture

The Association of Lawyers for Children (ALC) annual lecture in memory of David Hershman and Allan Levy was given by Lord Justice Wall in Birmingham in June 2006. His theme was public access to and the reporting of children proceedings as addressed in the recent case of Clayton v Clayton [2006] EWCA Civ 878, handed down by the Court of Appeal on 27 June 2006. Clayton decided that the privacy/anonymity afforded to children under s 97(2) of the Children Act 1989 (CA 1989) came to an end once the proceedings themselves had been finally resolved.

Wall LJ said that Clayton was a further step on the road towards transparency. His personal view was to give the media - ie the Press - access to family proceedings provided that there were clear ground rules about what they could and could not report, namely the extent to which, if at all, they were to be at liberty when reporting the proceedings to identify the parties, and, in particular, the children concerned. There was, however, a line to be drawn between the public interest and the public's curiosity. It was to guard against the latter that Wall LJ was opposed to allowing members of the public into family proceedings even if there were a judicial discretion to exclude the public in certain circumstances.

After the lecture the ALC award for outstanding newcomer was presented to Charlotte Rhodes and Deirdre Fotrell. In 2007 the lecture will be held in London on 28 June and will be given by Lord Justice Wilson.

See August [2006] Fam Law for the full news article. See the cases section of Newswatch for a case summary of Clayton v Clayton. See also the news item below on Clayton, 'The Case for Openness in Family Courts'.

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