‘Nothing to hide – what’s wrong with covert recordings?’

The Family Justice Council run a debate every December and it is usually excellent. Notwithstanding the fact that this year the line up will involve yours truly it should still be an interesting event to attend - the other panellists are the excellent Hannah Markham QC, Her Honour Judge Lazarus and Debbie Singleton - and the topic is the ever controversial covert recording.

The question for debate is :

‘Nothing to hide – what’s wrong with covert recordings?’

I'm told that Hannah and I have been allocated to team 'pro', but as ever with these things the debate topic sets up a false dichotomy. Things are always more complicated than the forced choice of yay or nay allows...

FJC events are by ticket only and the tickets are limited - you must apply by 21 November to have a chance of getting in.

Details here :

Family Justice Council – 12th Annual Debate: Covert recordings in family law

 

 

5 thoughts on “‘Nothing to hide – what’s wrong with covert recordings?’

  1. Great post and interesting topic, be interested to attend.
    In any event would like to contribute to you on the pro side of the argument as sadly the system is so inherently dishonest.
    I can give you a truly damning account of child abuse by SW’s in a court building, who then denied all, called the child a liar, impugned a judge by way of alternate explanation and denial, but didn’t count upon a really smart child who recorded it all.
    This has been upheld by independent enquiries for the record so are not idle boasts.
    The disinfectant of sunlight, or in this case sound.

  2. […] ‘Nothing to hide — what’s wrong with covert recordings?’ [Pink Tape] […]

  3. Wow, have you seen this Lucy? From Natasha at Research Reform site today Tuesday 4th
    “This site has learned that law firms and councils are unlawfully coercing parents into signing informal agreements which forbid families from recording child protection meetings.

    Clauses in an agreement asking a parent not to record conversations or exchanges with child welfare professionals are illegal, and are sometimes referred to in family proceedings as unlawful undertakings. Domestic undertakings set out in agreements are very rarely enforceable, and parents are not under any obligation to sign them. If you have signed an agreement prepared by a local authority or lawyer asking you to set aside your legal right to record communications in child welfare proceedings, you can withdraw your consent at any time.

    This site has seen a copy of an agreement drawn up by a council which clearly states that the parent named in the document may not record any phone calls or meetings within their home or the local authority’s offices. Sources have also confirmed that lawyers and social workers are telling parents that they are legally obliged to sign these agreements.

    Researching Reform has spoken with several parents who have all been asked to sign agreements containing an undertaking that they will not record child protection meetings or any communications between them and professionals involved in their cases. An experienced McKenzie Friend told this site that the practice was widespread and growing, as parents seek to record their meetings in order to highlight professional misconduct, and factual inaccuracies within reports produced after meetings.

    Recording child protection meetings and communications is allowed, and while asking professionals for permission to do this is considered polite, it is not compulsory. Parents and family members involved in child welfare proceedings may record meetings and exchanges without telling professionals they are doing so.

    Many thanks to the parents and lay advisers who spoke with us about this development.”

    • Hi
      I hadn’t seen it. I’m not sure I agree that such agreements are illegal – though they are probably unenforceable, and parents should certainly not be led into thinking that they are enforceable or that they have to sign them. Providing a parent is not misled and goes in with their eyes open there is nothing to stop them entering into such an agreement – and it may be legitimate of social services to ask them to sign an agreement where (for example) recordings have been used to harass participants in meetings or where there have been threats that recordings will be distributed.
      I can’t say I’ve come across such agreements in my own work so will be interested to read more.
      Lucy

  4. Make wearing body cams compulsory for social workers. It’ll protect the innocent and condemn the guilty, on both sides – as has been shown in policing.

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