Man in 10-year family court dispute calls for transparency


A man embroiled in a decade-long child custody dispute has urged the family court to publish the details of his case in a drive to improve transparency.

The man, who has remained anonymous, said he attended dozens of hearing across six courts and two counties to gain access to his daughter who was born almost 10 years ago.

But he says every hearing has been held in private and not one judge’s ruling has been published despite leading figures calling for transparency in the family justice system.

Earlier this year, Cardiff University’s School of Law and Politics said people were being left with a “patchy understanding” of the system because judges were not consistently following guidance on the publication of case rulings.

They found that of a sample of 800 rulings, just “27 judges and 12 courts” sent more than 10 cases to be published on the British and Irish Legal Information Institute.

The report said judges complained about not having enough time to publish court documents while meeting anonymity procedures.

The man, from Norwich, now says he wants Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division of the High Court, to read his case file.

He said he wants to spend more time with his daughter, and her the same, but judges have not listened to them.

“I’d like Sir James to see if he thinks the process has been fair and transparent,” he said.

“I don’t think justice has been done to me. More importantly I don’t think justice has been done to my daughter. I would like rulings to be published, anonymously, from my case.

“People should be given some idea of what happens so that lessons are learned. In my case, there have been hearings in the North East and in East Anglia. I’ve probably been represented by 10 barristers, including two QCs.

“There have been complaints about judges and applications for them not to oversee hearings. Nothing has ever been published.”

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