A Model of Neutrality

At least we can be sure that the accredited media who are now permitted access to the family courts can be relied upon to report lawfully, accurately and without bias or pathos…sorry, did I snigger when I said that? What a shocking piece of journalism / creative writing. There are self-indulgent English idyll flourishes (the reporter tells us ‘I met George on one of those bright days when the English countryside is at its most luminous and all seems right with the world’ – by Gad I can smell the Pimms), references to Charles and Di, and a male protagonist who is more like your ‘average vicar’ than an F4J campaigner (I think that’s reassuring). They should get Hugh Grant to star in the movie of it and call it Four Weddings and a Divorce. Can you guess which paper it comes from before clicking on the link?

I am increasingly cnvinced that there is a market to be cornered in educating journalists about s12 Administration of Justice Act 1960. And, given the frequency with which it is ignored, a case for it’s early reform.

5 thoughts on “A Model of Neutrality

  1. hmmm, so you are prepared to sneer at this reporting, but you do not provide any reason for why you think this is creative writing.

    Is it not the case that the problem is this legal system which hides from the light of day ? If the legal system were open, the light of truth would be perfectly adequate to dispel rotten or biased reporting.

    As it is, you are simply sneering at journalism of a perfectly reasonable human interest story. Unless, of course, you wish to go further and deny that this man is deserving of any human interest ?

    • The law surrounding what can and cannot be reported may be wrong but until the law is changed it is still a contempt of court to publish the detail of what goes on in court hearings concerning children. Apparently the national press do not recognise this which is quite astonishing (I appreciate that this article is a couple of years old but it’s a pattern still being repeated by other newspapers and the law has been the same for years). Nor do they appear to recognise the importance of publishing a balanced account of cases. Whilst this case clearly has human interest it is pretty plain that the account given is only part of the story, and is peppered with emotive nonsense. I’m not saying stories like this shouldn’t be reported, I’m saying that they should be reported BETTER. I should think the children in this case are quite able to identify themselves and I can’t imagine that being helpful to anyone.

  2. thank you for your reply.

    I now think i understand what your perspective is. Unfortunately, it wasn’t at all clear to me from your original article.

    Also struck by the contrast with your previous article, where a judge called up the press before criticising a CAFCASS person. Apparently, this was a good thing, because it made clear that there was a stunning injustice in the system.

    “it is still a contempt of court to publish the detail of what goes on in court hearings …”
    ” I’m not saying stories like this shouldn’t be reported”

    maybe i am still confused; but don’t worry, I confuse easily 🙂

    • Well the 2 big differences between the mail article and the Judge criticising CAFCASS were that in the latter the report was with judicial sanction (and hence not a contempt of court) and that it related to systemic failings rather than the gory details of individual cases. AND, since the report regarding CAFCASS concerned the court procedure rather than facts specific to individual cases most or all of it probably didn’t even fall within s12 AJA anyway (i.e. it would be classed as permissible even without judicial sanction). Anyway, whatever the law says it clearly confuses everybody and needs to be revisited.

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