Family Courts: Accountability

Justice written question – answered on 16th July 2008.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham PPS (Mr Mike O'Brien, Minister of State), Department for Work and Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent steps the Government has taken to improve accountability in family courts.

Photo of Bridget Prentice Bridget Prentice Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Justice

We have consulted twice on how we could improve transparency in family courts. It is important that the courts are more open and accountable and it is important that children's interests are protected. The right of the public to know what is happening needs to be balanced with a child's rights to privacy.

It is also important to help the public understand what happens in family courts and how the courts make these difficult decisions. That is why we have already announced that we will be piloting the publication of judgments for some family cases.

This is an important and complex area of policy about which people have strong views. We must ensure we get it right. We will be making an announcement to the House about the pilots, and our other proposals, after the summer.

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