3 thoughts on “Read it and weep

  1. I suspect the view from the President’s window faces onto an internal courtyard, lost somewhere in the Gormenghast labrinths of the RCJ, walled with dull white bricks and many black pipes draining who knows what to a subterraneand lake who knows where.

    But it would be nice to know. Perhaps around Christmas we can have a View from the President’s window that goes along the lines of

    “Well, I see they’ve planted out the winter pansies in the window boxes. Wonder how long before the students from the LSE nick those… let’s see now.. hmmmmmm I can see into Lord Justice XXXXXX’s room from here. He’s got a new photo on his desk. I wonder if ……? Hmmmmmmmm [drums fingers on window sill]… Those so and so’s asked for a little more time and I’ve given them half an hour. Either they sort something out or I’ll tell them I’ll have them back tomorrow morning, then I can get off early and do my Christmas shopping. Hmmmmm oh look there’s the cleaner again. We never used to have so many coffee shops when I was at the Bar and I do wish that barristers wouldn’t leave their disposable coffee cups perched on the walls like that… Aha! That gives me an idea…. HmmHmm take a note, Mr Smith: “r39 The Duties of Advocates relating to disposal of coffee cups in the Vicinity of the Court”. Perhaps I’ll start with the PD and work backwards. If they haven’t settled by the time I’ve finished this, they’re definitely coming back tomorrow morning.”

  2. I do actually agree with a lot of what the President says in this speech (the only exception being that there’s not a lot of the child in there, or recognition that is was largely the impact on the child that led to the transparency legislation that had been prepared not being implemented)

    I admire that he tells the editors that they have not come to hear a law lecture and then gives them one.

    Transparency is coming without a doubt. And it will probably be a good thing, in all but the most exceptional cases.

    I think access to documents is vital for a proper understanding.

    I do actually agree with the President that the only way to deal with the criticisms of the family justice system is to be transparent and allow for criticisms to be published alongside the ability for readers who wish to to read the anonymised judgments for themselves.

    The State should properly, I believe, remember that it borrows such powers that it has from the people and it is only with the support of the people that such powers continue. If the people come to lose faith in the exercise of those powers, it is right that the State’s actions be scrutinised. (I have in part an idealistic view, here, I confess)

    Where I think the idealised view of transparency runs into difficulties is the notion that the press want to (or have the time and resources that would allow them to) weigh up those documents and published judgments and report accurately on them.

    As one can see with todays UK Human Rights blog, transparency and openness hasn’t led to accurate or fair reporting on human rights. Newspapers exist to sell copies, not just to inform their readers.

  3. Easy for family courts to be transparent.Instead of just talking about it ;open them to the public just like criminal courts and abolish all punishment without crime ie stop taking children for risk from sane non criminal parents !

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