UK "E-Petition" Aimed at Family Law Opaqueness

In 2007, an "e-petition" -- perhaps one day a sometime weapon of transparency advocacy -- was circulated in the UK requesting greater transparency in family justice. There is little doubt that finding and agreeing upon common outcome measures, not to mention privacy and child protection considerations, would be contentious, but the issue serves to highlight how many hitherto darkened corners of the social machinery have yet to be illuminated.

As the petitioner's creator wrote at the time:

We cannot understand how the decisions of the Family Courts affect real families because of the secretive nature of them. Because the courts do not follow up on the results of their decisions, we cannot understand whether or not their decisions work for the good or the bad of families and thus it is difficult for the courts to improve the way they manage family dispute.

Full transparency, of course, could disclose a full array of legal procedural and financial facts, such as legal fees, postponements, court costs, rulings, opinions on the conduct of judges -- far beyond only family court.

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