Family Court Privacy – The Times’s Campaign

9 July, 2012

The Times reported today on the latest instalment of their campaign to “… enhance understanding of the family courts by opening them up to the press”.

The judge refused their application for permission to report all the details of a divorce because it would breach the privacy of the husband’s father who, it seems, is a man of some wealth and, possibly, internationally renown. One in the eye, according to The Times, for the public interest!

My first reaction is to wonder who could it be? If only the judge would tell me then I could form my own view about whether he holds any interest for me as a member of the public.

Then I find myself trying to formulate my own rules for deciding whose divorce should and should not be painted over the front pages. Surely those who live by the media should divorce by the media. If you use your celebrity to make money then it must be open season for the press once your marriage runs into trouble mustn’t it? And, of course, the public want to know and, if they want to know then they have a right to know!

The problem with all that for me, though, is this…the end of a marriage, civil partnership or long term relationship is usually a matter of profound sadness for those involved. I don’t think it is really ever part of any person’s life plan and is usually the emotional low point of any life. We should be very cautious about letting each other into such a personal moment – even more so if other people would be affected as well.

And if The Times want to enhance understanding of the family courts they need only call me.