Surely it is only a matter of time until one of the parties in a divorce case appeals against the excessive open sharing of their personal and financial details? Sam Longworth addresses the issues in The Telegraph.
In the wake of comments from a leading family court judge, it is only a matter of time until one of the parties in a divorce case appeals against the excessive open sharing of their personal and financial details.
On 28th February John Bingham, Social Affairs Editor at The Telegraph, published the article ‘Big money divorce case secrecy row could trigger appeals, warns judge’. This article focused on the disagreement between top judges over whether details of couples’ lives can be publicised, with Mr Justice Moor saying the situation ‘needs to be dealt with’.
The full article: Big money divorce case secrecy row could trigger appeals, warns judge
Sam Longworth, Partner in our Divorce and Family department, picked up the issues in a letter published on The Telegraph ‘Letters’ page.
In his letter, Sam strongly argues that an individual’s right to privacy is aligned to the concept of transparency in court but not openness, and that in difficult times individuals turning to the court for assistance should not have to do so on a public stage.
The full letter can be read below:
Public divorce cases
Judges disagree over just how the drive for more ‘openness’ in the legal system should be applied.
SIR – A couple’s ability to have a court adjudicate on any dispute between them in respect of their divorce has long been a fundamental right in our society. That in doing so they may now risk exposing intimate details of their marriage to the public out of a drive towards “openness” is of grave concern.
There is already transparency within the family courts, which permit accredited members of the press access to most court hearings, subject to sensible restrictions. While this transparency is essential, the concept of openness requires careful, and separate, consideration.
To suggest that transparency can only be achieved through open access to the courts in divorce cases ignores both the nature of the press and an individual’s right to privacy in their family life. Stories surrounding divorce and wealth are likely to generate public interest, but that interest will often be in the detail relating to the couple’s separation or wealth, not in the legal approach taken by the judge in a case.
An individual’s right to privacy is particularly important in the more difficult times of their life, such as divorce. It cannot be correct that, if they have to turn to the court for assistance in determining the financial aspects of a separation, they must do so on a public stage.
The letter can be found online here: The Telegraph – Letters page
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