Media may be allowed into family courts

The media may be allowed in to family courts, according to reports.

Justice secretary Jack Straw is expected to announce the plans next month to create more transparency in the family justice system.

The move follows years of campaigning for greater openness in hearings determining whether children should be taken into care.

Judge Sir Mark Potter, president of the family division, told the paper he supported the decision to open all cases of children’s removal from their family, except in case of adoption, to the media.

“It is my firm belief that when people see these cases in action, and the extreme care with which they are dealt – and the fact that so much of what is said comes from interested and disgruntled parties not reporting the matter objectively – it can do nothing but good for the system,” he said.

However, Ian Johnson, chief executive of the British Association of Social Workers, disagreed with the claim that the media’s presence would produce better social service.

“The nature of some of the information dealt with in family courts should just not be in the public domain,” he said.

“I just don’t agree with this argument that having the press there will result in better social services.”