Who’s behind Pink Tape?

Pink Tape is written by Lucy Reed KC, a family law barrister *waves*. On this blog you will see me identified as ‘Familoo’ (a concatenation of ‘family’ and ‘Loo’. A moment of poor judgment right there). I have been at the family bar for 20 years and am still amazed at how little most people understand about the work that I do and what goes on inside the Family Courts (with others I set up The Transparency Project to try and begin to tackle this).

Since summer 2008 when I made my escape from the big smoke and back to my roots in the West Country I have been a member of St John’s Chambers in Bristol. Best move I ever made…Since 2022 I have also been an associate member of 36 Family in London.

According to the Legal 500 2011 I have an “impressive ability to get to the crux of a complicated and messy dispute”. That’s a euphemism for a lawyer who verbalises what she thinks a bit too readily. In 2012 they said I was “a strong advocate and hardworking” (transl. : “WILL NOT SHUT the flip UP!”). In 2013 they said that I was “excellent on complex and tricky cases“. In 2015 “Lucy will not be browbeaten by an opponent” (transl. : WILL NOT SHUT the flip UP!“)

More recently Chambers & Partners say : “Lucy is humane, sensible and crafts her submissions with precision and insight.” and that I “Combine… a massive intellect with really meticulous forensic preparation, and [have] enormous humanity as well.”

Legal 500 say : ‘Rigorous in her analysis of every argument.

I could update these for 2023, but you get the flavour. In 2023, I was appointed Kings Counsel, which means someone thinks I’m very good at my job.

I am also the author of The Family Court Without a Lawyer – A Handbook for Litigants in Person and co-author of Transparency in the Family Court – Publicity and Privacy in Practice. If you are really that interested in my CV you can read it elsewhere.

About the blog

Pink Tape is not just about family law: I post about what interests me and whilst that is largely family law, it also includes non-family legal stuff, non-legal family stuff and stuff totally unrelated to either law or family.

I’d love to think that this blog will persuade at least one person we aren’t all the money hungry sharks you think we are. Some of us are quite nice really. And I’d like to think that I can provide some useful information about family law for those working in the area without getting too heavy or boring.

An established purpose behind the blog is to enhance the quality of public information and debate about legal matters.

Not everyone likes Pink Tape or family lawyers in general.

Rules of the blog

Of course, everything on the blog is suitably anonymised (or made up) so that nobody (including me) gets into hot water. Where necessary I have tweaked facts to ensure that individual cases are not identifiable. I will not post comments that in my opinion offend against the law in respect of the privacy of family proceedings. Individuals involved in proceedings will not be identified by me or in comments unless they have been identified in a published judgment.

I will not publish anything which I think might have potential to be defamatory. I don’t have time to research every assertion made in a comment – so I have to adopt a cautious approach in order to avoid (hopefully) costly legal proceedings or nasty threatening letters. If you are confident it’s not defamatory you are free to publish it yourself elsewhere at your own risk.

Nothing in this blog is intended to constitute or be taken as legal advice, so please don’t treat it as such. You may think it applies to your particular circumstances but it almost certainly doesn’t and I cannot accept responsibility for any reliance you may place upon its contents. The information contained on the blog is as up to date and accurate as I can make it given my other commitments – Pink Tape is a hobby which I fit in as and when. This means I cannot and do not cover all changes to the law or update information that becomes outdated or obsolete.

And of course I cannot be responsible for the content of sites linked to from this blog, either in terms of their accuracy or the views expressed on them.

Moderation – Unfortunately I’ve had to start moderating comments on this blog. Please be assured I don’t plan to block sensible contributions to a discussion, whether the contributors agree with me or not – but I will weed out comments that are seeking to exploit this blog as a forum to air their own negative views about lawyers in a repetitive or offensive manner. I will try and moderate as quickly as possible. Occasionally something gets lost in spam and disappears into the ether. It is not a conspiracy.

Right of Reply – I try to be careful and fair with my posts on this blog and try to avoid causing upset to individuals, but if there is any post concerning you as an individual that contains an inaccuracy or mistake that you would like me to correct please post a comment and I will give you a right of reply. I will usually only edit or reject comments that contain offensive material or material which the law or rules of court prevent me from publishing.

Copyright – what I publish on this blog is my intellectual* property. Usually, if you ask if you can repost my stuff elsewhere I will agree. But please don’t do it without asking.

Please feel free to email me with suggestions for topics I could cover or blog posts you’d like to see (email: familoo at pinktape dot co dot uk).

*not very intellectual

52 thoughts on “About

  1. […] Lucy Reed sensed a chill in the air, as did Obiter J, who has written consistently on the topic. Andrew Sharpe wasn’t losing any sleep over it, though felt there was more to think about for commercial bloggers. Paul Bernal recommended keeping vigilant, and blamed the threat of regulation on bad behaviour by the press. […]

  2. […] know about the practice of family law in more detail the best place to start would probably be with Pink Tape, written by the Bristol based family law barrister Lucy Reed. Her posts range from mildly whimsical […]

    • Lucy, thank-you from the very bottom of our hearts…… The W-J partnership are a family again thanks to you! 🙂

      • Worriedmummy

        Hi Lucy, I have just ordered your book in the hope that it will help me navigate the family court going forward (pretty shocking experience so far and that was with representation).
        I have a question if I may?
        Does a new child arrangements order supersede the previous one entirely?
        Vital elements have been left off (therefore erased?) the new order which could change everything!

        Thanks in advance.

        • Hi worriedmummy,
          I don’t (can’t) give legal advice on this blog I’m afraid. And in any event the answer would depend on how your order was worded.

  3. Family Courts… are these the same Family Courts that Christopher Booker et al have been dragging into the spotlight recently?

  4. I retired 3 years ago having spent 35 years as a Social Worker in Private Family Law and also in Public Law as a Guardian.
    I still do some work in a Contact Centre and am concerned about the future of this provision. I think that arguably Contact Centres and Mediation Services do more for the well being of children than Cafcass.
    Whilst the funding for Contact Centres in these times of austerity is critical I see more and more expensive red tape being created by Cafcass for Centres and the latest idea of inspections by the Children’s Board as just another costly idea that diverts funds.
    Historically the adoption of the Guardian model for Private Family Law was, with the benefit of hindsight and in my opinion, inappropriate for Cafcass interventions. ‘Putting the Child First’ is fine as a slogan but in private Law it only identifies the issue. In my view a more hollistic approach is required which involves all members of the family. Whilst not perfect the family, it seems to me, is still generally speaking the best place to raise children whether it is intact or not.

    • In my opinion and my sons experience cafcass have no interest in the fathers rights and opinions they are all for the mother

      • I have lost contact with my daughter for whom I was main carer. CAFCASS lies/self-interest, court bias, gross selfishness of her mother pandered to, the works.

        But you know the whole system is based on divide and mi5-rule and that includes the playing of ‘rights’ off against one-another. I’m not interested in playing that losing game to the benefit of a cynical hierarchy, interested only in control.

        We need a return to democracy, common sense and reason.

        The whole political correctness phenomenon is just the same old divisive game with a ‘progressive’ label designed to destroy freedom.

        The father’s rights campaign is sadly a total red-herring… ‘move away from the light’ and see the thing for what it is.

        “It” is certainly is not out to favour women, simply use them to destroy their own families.
        [Edit Stuart I’ve edited your name for the sake of anonymity – Lucy]

      • Not in all cases

    • If it weren’t for CAFCASS myself and my partner would be facing a very unsure and stressful future! Hats off to the G for her honesty and fairness at our hearing which saw us winning against the LA!

    • Nearly two years on and more and more contact centres are closing. A particularly highly rated one in Manchester is about to close and this will leave parents, social workers and the courts with a huge gap in practical facilities for helping family members to continue their relationship post separation.

      I continue to see Cafcass announcing the awards it has achieved perhaps it could channel its brilliance into maintaining essential facilities. Often parents are now have to pay to see their children which is deplorable especially considering the devastating financial impact of family breakdown.

      All very well having glossy booklets and parenting plans (not a new idea by any means) but that’s easy stuff get back to the practical basics of hands on intervention.

    • Spot on ,when is this gonna stop because it can never be put right.we can never replace what we have lost

    • well said. Totally agree. I was disregarded as a Special Guardian/kinship carer as I am a single grandma and middle aged and already care for my granddaughter who is 13 and well behaved, but app too big age gap

  5. Delyth Rennie

    The closure of contact centres is indeed cause for great concern. The priority should be ensuring no more centres close (and those that have are reinstated). Many are run on shoestring budgets providing services that are incredibly good value. I don’t know about this proposal for inspection by the Cafcass Children’s Board, so if anyone has more information I’d be interested to hear

  6. I think the justice system is outrageous so the mother can use a child as a weapon and an obstruction to allow the child the right to see the father even though she has lied to the courts concerning abuse with no evidence say what she wants about the father of the child and cause heartache for the father and the rest of the child’s close relatives the grandparents and other family members and the courts allow this, about time the mothers are questioned and pay for there court fees may think twice before crying wolf make me angry

  7. Good afternoon Lucy.

    Came across your blog while randomly surfing the internet.

    The link you have given linking your profile at St. John’s Chamber is broker.

    While your name appears at St. John’s Chamber’s website, the link is different.

    You might want to correct that.



  8. In 2012 I read your blog eventually buying your book for my partner. It was very helpful especially when the money ran out and he began to represent himself.

    I have been re reading this as our problems are really no nearer being sorted out. We are now on the 8th /9th contact order which has been broken again within two months, despite threats of residency and prison from the judge.

    Watching my partner going through this torture is heartbreaking. What can this be doing to his child? The system is all he has and I am grateful that you have let us see some positive outcomes, from his point of view.

    The amount of public money for: police investigations, social services investigations, MASH referrals, GP letters, school letters, not forgetting Cafcass reports and court time is crazy although I guess sometimes necessary.

    Fortunately, I have a friend who at the beginning of the court process told me how emotionally draining this would be, she even predicted the accusations that would be made against my partner accurately. This from my point of view has been incredibly helpful.

    Thank you again Lucy for the blog on the system and thank you my friend for the accurate predictions of my partners ex partners game playing!!

    • Glad it was useful, although I’m sorry to hear how protracted and stressful it continues to be for you both. Best of luck with it.

  9. Does anybody know when the Children Act 1989 is up for a re-write? One wonders what the agenda is likely to be now we have a majority-Conservative government…. We have had fairly swingeing legal aid cuts for the last 5 years, now there’s talk of modelling 25% and 40% cuts which could hit Children’s Services hard. Privatisation? Voluntarisation? Thoughts welcome…

  10. hi
    last week i had my initial interview with Caffcass and the social worker failed to place the receiver. What i overheard was absolutely appalling . Not only was i discriminated against for class , but racism was taken as a matter of fact! i was ridiculed and hysterically laughed at . I have come away with sleepless nights and so so stressed that my children will not have a fair hearing . The staff are biased , not impartial and totally unprofessional and did not listen
    to any of my facts based on meetings between counsillors, school welfare officers and what the children will describe after one to one sessions ! I am absolutely disgusted .

    • Leanne,
      If you have heard a CAFCASS officer discussing you in discriminatory terms I would suggest that if you have not already done so you make a written note of what you overheard and make a complaint, requesting a new officer to deal with your case.

  11. Hi Lucy

    They discriminating against me on grounds of class as I mentioned a share fraud case . Said I was rich and wealthy ! I’m broke . They laughed about my allegations of harm towards the children , ridiculed mental abuse with hysterical laughter . Discriminated against me because I can’t afford to go to another town for hearing , and it’s 2 pm and I can’t get back to get children . Formed biased opinions tegarding abandonment by the dad without seeing my evidence and it was totally humiliating and I feel I won’t get a right to a fair trial . On top of that they said ‘racist, who isn’t ! Took my children’s racially abusing views by the father pushed on them as acceptable ! . They are running scared as going straight to the top . The more I read the more I’m really worrying they won’t take any evidence or children’s wishes into account . I’m terrified . They said they have never had this happen before and going to the top of complaints . It will not take away my anxiety though to move forward .

  12. […] father. Adoption can cause psychological violence to our sense of self.  She quoted Lucy Reed at Pink Tape that the drive for more adoptions was ‘legally wrong, morally bankrupt, economically stupid […]

  13. […] is a guest post from Lucy Reed, a barrister with who blogs at Pink Tape and tweets as @familoo. Anyone a) vaguely legal or b) generally interested in life should really […]

  14. If a parent suffers from anxiety is this a mental disorder. If the said parent signed Undertakings to not communicate with resident parent but had to break undertakings to try and comply with a court order, is that punishable in law?

    • Kerrie, I can’t give legal advice here but in broad terms I think it would be unlikely that if you are stuck between two conflicting court orders/undertakings and have to break one of them you are unlikely to be punished for not achieving the impossible. If there is a conflict I would suggest raising this with the court and asking to be relieved of one or other obligation.

  15. I am a grandmother who has been fighting for contact with my grandson, when I went to court for the first hearing I was granted leave of court in lines with the government guidelines.
    Unfortunately I had the misfortune to be appointed a cafass officer who took an immediate dislike to me, as you can imagine I have not made any progress since it started in 2015 , all she allowed me was indirect contact, in Dec 2016 I took the parents back to court because they broke the contact order by refusing to collect my grandson’s post from dept. if they were not at home when they were delivered.
    I asked for a monitoring order to be applied to court order, cafcass officer refused then decided my leave of court should be taken away from me, which the court went along with.
    This is just a shortened version of a very long story, what I wanted to have clarified is can the cafcass officer override the government guidelines,? Thank you

    • Janet,
      I don’t know what guidelines you are referring to. A judge makes a decision about granting leave to apply for an order based on s10 Children Act 1989. That decision is the judge’s but sometimes Cafcass might be asked for their view on it. The view of cafcass might be influential but it isn’t up to them to make the decision. That is for the judge.

  16. Lucy, first of many thanks for all your video and posts around Children contact and Family law courts

    Our divorce application is in Court(awaiting decree nisi) however even though earlier I had some contact with my Childre, currently my wife has somehow immediately removed Children contact for me, also she has been trying to first delay Divorice, now postponed first joint Mediation meeting
    I have a good solicitor working for me, however for Children Arrangements order, should I contact my own Barrister who can get the things done speedily and how much does it Cost?
    Thanks for your help

    • Hello Rhyahn,
      If you have a solicitor you should ask your solicitor to arrange a barrister (if required). If you have a solicitor on board a barrister will only become involved if instructed via a solicitor – if you and your solicitor agree you need one you can obviously participate in the decision about which barrister you prefer to instruct, as ultimately its your choice. So in short – speak to your solicitor about whether you need a barrister, who is available and how you want to proceed.

  17. Hi Lucy,

    Would it be concerning for a caffcass officer to disclose to a father she is a feminist in the family court waiting room? Not wishing to be embroiled in the issue but more importantly is it concerning if caffcass keep changing recommendations departing from their reports at the hearing before commencement without any notice nor changes in circumstances whatsoever? It places a litigant in person under unfair standing not being able to prepare for a hearing is my thought. I don’t feel happy with Caffcass and will just leave it at that . Purchased and read your book . I would recommend with 5 stars. Thank you for reading my message.

    • Disclosure : I too am a feminist.
      In answer to your question – I don’t think actually that being a feminist is something to ‘admit’ or ‘disclose’. Most of us simply take it to mean we are committed to equality and non-discrimination not women trump men.
      In the broadest sense if a litigant in person is being ambushed with changes of position that is unhelpful, but cafcass do sometimes have to respond to a changing picture and there are dangers too in a cafcass officer who is unwilling to change his or her mind once made up. If you need more time to think something over that has cropped up unexpectedly make sure the judge knows this. I don’t think I can really comment further. Glad the book was helpful David.

  18. […] If you want to read a blog by someone who really knows about family law, I would recommend either Lucy Reed’s Pink Tape (Lucy has also written the fantastically useful Family Court without a lawyer, a handbook for […]

  19. […] If you want to read a blog by someone who really knows about family law, I would recommend either Lucy Reed’s Pink Tape (Lucy has also written the fantastically useful Family Court without a lawyer, a handbook for […]

  20. […] If you want to read a blog by someone who really knows about family law, I would recommend either Lucy Reed’s Pink Tape (Lucy has also written the fantastically useful Family Court without a lawyer, a handbook for […]

    • Hi. I am a LiP in respect of a Civil ( NOT Family) Claim in a local English County Court.
      I cannot find any authority ( in Non family Rules etc ) equivalent to 29.12 (3) giving any party a right to inspect the court file.
      Any ideas?

  21. Hi Lucy,

    My granddaughter has been adopted by extended family. My daughter put them forward for a SGO and they signed a family agreement made with the LA present that they would not adopt her unless it was the only way to stop her daughter going to strangers.

    After spending money on a barrister in court for the SGO which I offered to help with and they refused the offer, they now act as if they have bought her and went for adoption and won. They promised contact before the adoption but then refused it as my daughter challenged the adoption in court.

    My daughter does not have an order for contact but the final General Order says Mr&Mrs * are working towards direct contact. It is 1 1/2 years since the SGO without contact, it also says it is intended to be next spring so nothing definite.
    There is no contact arranged for myself either. The Order says it will be considered by Mr&Mrs *

    They do not live near us but we visit other relatives near them, what would happen if I or my daughter bumped into them? There is nothing in the Order to say we must avoid them.

    Also what grounds can we use to appeal the adoption?
    The LA started this off with possible future emotional harm due to mental health problems, then changed the same paperwork to significant harm after she had a good mental health report.
    There have been lies in paperwork and in court, we have recorded proof of this but no solicitor would touch the recordings.

  22. Hello!! I just stumbled across your excellent and informative blog whilst trying to find information about the age at which Section 8 orders cease to be relevant/enforceable.

    So I think I now know where things stand!!

    I really just wanted to say thanks so much for spending the time and energy on creating and running this brilliant resource.

    If only it had been available (as well as your book)…or that I had found them if they were…back in 2010!! 😉

    Thanks for all your hard work. I’m sure that it is much appreciated by many stressed and struggling folk trying to navigate their way through difficult times and the court/legal system.

  23. Hello Lucy,

    Please could you advise whether I would be able to use my own case – redacted to remove all identifying details, including court bundle and full transcripts etc. in unpublished academic research or would I need the courts permission to do so? If I would need courts permission how would I go about getting it? Thank you so Much,

    • As this page makes clear I don’t offer advice via this blog, but I will say the answer to your question is not straightforward due to the rules around family court privacy. there are provisions for authorised research projects in the rules, which are also not straightforward, and there would also be your own internal ethics committee to deal with I presume.

  24. As Fathers: We all need to support each other: My long time friend also just wrote a book that will help anyone fighting for custody. Google Danial Kenneth Mason. New book Custody. I’ll direct my friend Danial to view this page.

  25. I was litigant in person in a recent part 25 application in the financial remedy proceedings. It’s a bit complicated but would like to know if the judge can ever be in cahoots with the Barrister? And if so how do you hold them to account. There are several incidences which point to this.

    1. Contradicting the transcript on the order
    2. Letting the proceeding proceed when I started stammering and shaking, I suffer from Chronic Fatigue and normally have a limit of 1 hour, the judge said we should carry on for three hours.
    3. By allowing a unless order for an intervenor when no one has contacted the intervenor in the past.

    I know most people would say that it’s just sour grapes, but I am more interested in how do address these issues when you are litigant in person, and clearly neither the judge nor the opposing barrister have applied the basics, but instead worked together for questionable orders and outcomes.

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