The Court of Appeal should make a decision about the publicity that big money divorce cases receive, a senior judge has insisted.
Speaking at the High Court on Friday, Mr Justice Moor said that there should be a definitive ruling on whether or not the press should be allowed to report the details of such cases.
Several senior judges have taken different positions on this issue. Last year, Mr Justice Holman claimed that there was “a very, very high public interest” in the openness of the family courts. He cited the “very long tradition in this country of open justice” and added that while judges “sit in the name of the sovereign” they do so “on behalf of the public”. He asked how anyone could have confidence in the family justice system if they are excluded from it. The public “are entitled to see the judge at work”, he insisted.
By contrast, Mr Justice Mostyn called such cases “quintessentially private business”. While it is one thing for the media to report aspects of a case “in an abstract way”, he said, “laying bare the intimate details of the parties’ private lives is altogether another”.
Mr Justice Moor claimed that such a clarification was “overdue” and insisted that “this difference of opinion … needs to be dealt with”. His comments came during his analysis of a financial dispute in a private hearing, although he gave a journalist permission to report his remarks on the issue.
Photo of the Royal Courts of Justice by Mal Booth via Flickr