Financial claim court reporting should be confidential

8th March 2015 by

 

In 2012, a judgement in the case of A v A was greeted favourably by divorce solicitors in London and throughout the UK as it gave reassurance to divorcing spouses that their financial affairs would remain confidential.

Since 2009, family courts have been open to the media in a bid to create an open justice system. All private financial remedy proceedings (excluding Financial Dispute Resolution meetings) have been observable unless an exception applies under Rule 27.11 – to include protecting the interests of a child, maintaining the safety of or protecting a party, witness or connected person, to preserve orderly conduct, or to prevent justice from being impeded or prejudiced.

In A v A [2012] the judgement was anonymised and the District Judge made it clear that while open justice is important, the role of the media in family law should be that of “public watchdog” – to report on the workings of the family justice system and to highlight how the decision-making process works. Hence, members of the media were permitted to attend the final hearing but the judge put a reporting ban in place to prevent details coming to light before the final judgement was made.

As it was, the parties in A v A reached a settlement before the court ruled.

For divorce solicitors, this has been a welcome clarification as it enables us to assure clients that confidentiality will be maintained. Although full and frank disclosure of financial information in a divorce settlement is a legal requirement, many parties are reluctant to impart sensitive financial details which may later be held up for public scrutiny.

For human rights advocates, this decision will be seen as a tipping of the balance in favour of Article 8, which allows the right to a private and family life, rather than favouring Article 10, for the freedom of expression.

Judges may still choose to publish their rulings, appeal hearings remain open to the public and, of course, there will be some occasions where publication of the financial claim details will be considered to be in the public interest. However, the ruling in A v A means that family lawyers and their clients can go forward without spectre of press intrusion into the nitty gritty of their finances.

Financial claim legal advice from divorce solicitors in London and Brighton

For confidential, expert legal advice and guidance from experienced divorce solicitors in London and Brighton, call Healys LLP today. We have many years’ experience in the bringing of and defence of financial claims between divorcing spouses.

Wherever possible we will attempt to employ conciliatory and amicable methods for the resolution of divorce financial claim disputes, but, if this approach is not possible, we will use robust litigation procedures to protect the interests of our clients.

To get in touch with our Brighton team please call 01273 685 888 or email an enquiry to family@healys.com

Alternatively, our divorce solicitors in London can be reached on 020 7822 4000. We look forward to helping you.