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Appeal Judges Lift an Order Protecting Parties' Anonymity

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The Court of Appeal recently rejected an application for a reporting restriction order by a former wife involved in financial remedy proceedings against her husband. Tina Norman had claimed that her financial affairs were "private business" and that there was no public interest in the disclosure of her identity. Various newspapers successfully contested the making of a reporting restriction order. No judgement has been given yet in the case.

While those going through divorce might want to keep their financial matters confidential, the need for greater openness in the family courts means that inevitably tensions will arise.  The public are able to attend hearings heard in 'open court' and in addition, the press have been able to attend select hearings in family proceedings since the court rules were changed in 2009. The press can report in broad terms on the proceedings, and it is possible to make an application to keep the press out of the court, but nonetheless complete anonymity can evidently never be guaranteed.   It may not be popular with some people who are in the throes of an already difficult time, but unless there are minor children to protect, couples must unfortunately expect their dirty linen to be washed in public.

The case highlights the need for couples to try to reach agreement without having to issue court proceedings, which is an approach which Chattertons Family department is committed to.

Contact Liz Graham, Partner at our Grantham office to book a meeting: 01476 512 603.

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