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This briefing paper considers the issue of confidentiality and openness in the family court, including:

  • an explanation of the new Family Court, introduced in April 2014;
  • the current rules on transparency, including communication of information, media attendance and the publication of judgments, as well as the rules on contempt of court;
  • a history of recent changes to the transparency of the family courts, including the recent direction on the publication of judgments, and consultation on further measures to improve transparency by the President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby.

Disclosure of information relating to proceedings of the family courts outside of the rules is a serious matter and can result in a fine and/or imprisonment. It is strongly advisable to seek appropriate legal advice before disclosing information.

Please read the disclaimer on the last page of this paper.

This note replaces SN6102 .

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