Useful information around the Transparency Reporting Pilot starting in January 2023

The Transparency Reporting Pilot

The President has recently issued guidance (here) relating to the Reporting Pilot which will begin in Cardiff, Leeds and Carlisle in January 2023, lasting for 12 months.

The aim of the pilot is that in the designated courts, accredited journalists and ‘legal bloggers’ will be allowed to report on what they see and hear in court .

All reporting will be subject to the principles of protection of the anonymity of any children involved unless the Judge orders otherwise.

The Court may depart from the transparency principle in any case. In deciding whether to restrict reporting, the Court must ensure the rights of the family and parties to a fair trial under Article 6 ECHR and must balance the rights to a private and family life under Article 8 ECHR, and the rights of the press, public and parties under Article 10 ECHR (or any other relevant rights which may be engaged).

The pilot will not apply to financial remedy cases or applications under the Family Law Act 1996.

The court will consider whether to make a transparency order in any case where a pilot reporter attends a hearing (remotely or in person) and will retain a discretion to direct that there should be no reporting of the case. A standard form of a transparency order is annexed to the President’s guidance, but the court may modify the terms of the standard order as appropriate on the facts of the case.

The standard order provides that a pilot reporter is entitled to see, quote from or publish:

a. Documents drafted by advocates (or litigants if a party is self-representing): i.e. Case outlines, skeleton arguments, summaries, position statements threshold documents and chronologies.

b. Any indices from the Court bundle.

c. Any suitably anonymised Orders within the case

Further information regarding the reporting pilot may be obtained from the Transparency Implementation Group (TIG) secretary, Jack Harrison, by email at [email protected].  In addition, each pilot area has a liaison appointed from the junior bar who will act as a first point of contact for any issues that may arise, or any support that may be needed, who are:

  1. Cardiff: Laura Beattie, Cathedral Chambers, Cardiff
  2. Carlisle: Jack McCabe, 15 Winckley Square Chambers, Preston
  3. Leeds: Connie Purdy, Spire Chambers, Leeds

Further information has also been published on the Transparency Implementation Group homepage on the Judiciary website here.

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