The Government consultation paper, Confidence and Confidentiality: Improving Transparency and Privacy in Family Courts was published on 11 July 2006. The proposals include:
- making changes to attendance and reporting restrictions consistent across all family proceedings;
- allowing the media, on behalf of and for the benefit of the public, to attend proceedings as of right, though allowing the court to exclude them where appropriate to do so and, where appropriate, to place restrictions on reporting of evidence;
- allowing attendance by others on application to the court, or on the court's own motion;
- ensuring reporting restrictions provide for anonymity of those involved in family proceedings (adults and children), while allowing for restrictions to be increased or relaxed, as the case requires;
- introducing a new criminal offence for breaches of reporting restrictions;
- making adoption proceedings a special case, so that there is transparency in the process up until the placement order is made, but beyond that proceedings remain private.
As part of the consultation, the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) will be running an on-line discussion forum aimed at adults. This can be found at www.familycourtsforum.net. From 1 September 2006 there will also be an interactive site designed for children and young people to give their views on the consultation proposals. The consultation paper is available from the DCA website at: www.dca.gov.uk/consult/confr.htm. The consultation process ends on 30 October 2006.
See August  Fam Law for the full news article.