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In March 2018 @louisetickle gave the second Bridget Lindley Memorial Lecture in Birmingham childprotectionresource.online/opening-up-a-c… tonight she reprises that with additional comment about her recent CoA success in challenging an unlawful RRO #BristolBLlecture
Louise is also behind openfamilycourt.wordpress.com which is a project to recalibrate the balance between privacy and scrutiny in the family court #BristolBLlecuture
HHJ Stephen Wildblood QC introduces @louisetickle 'everyone knows how much Louise has done to try and open up the family court to let people see how we operate' #BristolBLlecture
Louise is still a little high from the buzz of being at the Court of Appeal on February 15 - it turns out I was right and that was a very big thrill! #BristolBLlecture
Louise recalls 1978 when living in Brussels. Her parents had separated. She lived with her mother but spent a lot of time with her dad and had a very close relationship. 'I completely adored him' #BristolBLlecture
All 4 of us in dad's care together. Don't recall what was said but upshot was mum was taking me and sister to England. Away from school, friends and my dad. I remember cold metal of car bonnet, clinging to dad's care. I will never forget the rage and shock #BristolBLlecture
I was only 8. No one listened to me. I lived in grief for loss of my dad. Only way I survived was because I knew I would at some point go back to Brussels and live with my dad. I knew this. #BristolBLlecture
Aged 11 I went to live with dad. Had to work very hard all my life to withstand guilt of hurting mum and sister. i am compelled to investigate where policies and systems are failing people. I will never forget my powerlessness in face of implacable authority #BristolBLlecture
Arrived at Bristol CJC 4 years ago and drawn into the messy emotionally demanding field of family law. People in this field do it because they care and I love that #BrisolBLlecture
People with little power and no voice will always strive to be heard. What is impact of modern communications and IT systems? ever evolving forms of social media #BristolBLlecture
The impact of connectivity and speed on journalists and family cases - its massive and not appreciated by the generation of those who grew up without it; so that's everyone here! #BristolBLlecture
All this impacts on relationship between the state, the media and families. Starting point is that communications technology has empowered people BECAUSE it is so unregulated. But its ungovernable nature is why social media can be so unpleasant and dangerous #BristolBLlecture
Professionals also become more accessible. They actively chose to engage in this way. commenting and raising public policy issues of enormous importance. Also a whole range of people to offer their insights. #BristolBLlecture
People are using social media to fight their way into a conversation that has been hitherto closed off to them - and I believe are having a big impact. @FamilyRightsGp online forum has 'exploded'. #BristolBLlecture
@SVPhillimore has spent many years in online fora. has seen many examples of campaigners who publish stuff that is not merely wrong but actively dangerous. #BristolBLlecture
Frightened and angry people are unsurprisingly receptive to bad advice. An avid and growing audience. Social media is all about spread. Huge and geographically dispersed traumatised and vulnerable communities brought together #BristolBLlecture.
Family barristers told me that taking bad online advice has changed outcome for families in disastrous ways. Also embarrassing how little lawyers appear to understand how social media operates #BristolBLlecture
Getting easier and faster for people to get in touch with journalists. Sometimes my email inbox feels like one long scream of pain #BristolBLecture
I am contacted by lawyers and social workers expressing concerns about systems failures they experience that are hurting people #BristolBLlecture
Number, length and emotional tone of these messages alerts media to fact that there is a growing disquiet about how we treat people in the system. Too pain to be endured or contained. #BristolBLlecture
These messages sound a warning that i think the Gov needs to heed. if you have nothing else to lose you have nothing left to fear. This is a place of enormous latent power #BristolBLlecture
So how are we adapting to this? Technology changes how journalists hear but also how we gain an audience. The Adoption podcast last year. Links were tweeted out and Facebooked. A lot of conversation #BristolBLlecture
Also the legal legend @JoshuaRozenberg with his sensitive tweeting about the Charlie Gard case. Considerable benefits to journalists to be able to live tweet court hearings. Almost as if we are inside the court #BristolBLlecture
Louise got a tweet from @MartinBarrow - link to video, child has run away from foster care and does not want to go with police. Eventually female officer climbs onto bunk bed. Child cowers and sobs. bundled down the stairs. Really horrible to watch #BristolBLlecture
Martin replied to say it had been shared 6K times already. I took story to a national news desk but they didn't take it - hard to tell the story without knowing the back story. Police didn't behave with excessive force #BristolBLlecture
Martin then confirmed it was shared 12K times - massive spread. I thought there was plenty there to unpick. Surprised police were allowed to manhandle child in the way they did. Is that acceptable? #BristolBLlecture
We need to have the legal freedoms to investigate and report on this kind of story #BristolBLlecture
'Piss off and leave me on the phone' - covert recording made by parent of foster carer. Louise wrote about this in 2015. Audio presented in court. It contradicted the foster carer's assertion that the mother had been rude. #BristolBLlecture
That foster carer's evidence about the mother would have been taken very seriously by the court. Issues of who has power and how doesn't. But recording is getting easier. Need to hold up and discuss issues of who has power #BristolBLlecture
Clear downsides to recording - can be edited, manipulated. not without its consequences. unpicked on a number of occasions by @seethrujustice - covert recordings are NOT unlawful. Question is - why do they want to do it? #BristolBLlecture.
When I write an article I can quote someone entirely accurately BUT NOT FAIRLY. can take people out of context - this is what parents tell me. Words distorted. Need to accept shocking examples of professional malpractice established only by covert recording #BristolBLlecture
Last autumn I live tweeted @The_HCPC hearing about striking off a dishonest social worker manager who added information to system much later. Discovered by mother's counsel. She lied about doing so. If not discovered, mother could never have challenged it #BristolBLlecture
The @The_HCPC gave the manager only a caution. how much confidence can any parent or judge have in her evidence in any future case? That is a problem for ALL of us. What confidence will parents have in the rigour of the regulatory process? #BristolBLlecture
These distortions and dishonesty are WHY parents want to record. THAT is what we should be worried about. Stop stressing about recording. It should be standard practice and done ALL THE TIME. Modern tech would allow it very easily #BristolBLlecture
Police officers wear body cam as standard. It makes them raise their game. Recording meetings would make for much more ethical decisions and allow those who feel powerless able to wrench some power back #BristolBLlecture
What about surveillance of parents social media feeds? Even if feed is public, repeat viewings could be unlawful surveillance by a state agency. Should what is seen on line be used as evidence? What about trusting relationships? #BristolBLlecture
Consider this - who are you when you go on line. All of you or just a slice of you? Could some of your posts be misconstrued if taken out of context. What we say on line is not fully representative of what we do #BristolBLlecture
So why one rule for parents? Why can't they look at social worker's social media? Is this a good or a fair basis for assessment or triangulation of information? #BristolBLlecture
Amanda Taylor pointed out that if a social worker turns up at house, parents are at least aware. This doesn't happen with surveillance of social media. Parents are then effectively forced underground to get advice and support with doesn't end well #BristolBLlecture
Is this where we want to put our efforts? Where surveillance is pushed at social workers as best practice, rather than a last resort? Only oppression and fractured trust can come of it. Don't think we can risk it #BristolBLlecture
People are scared, paranoid, hurting. No one is looking after them or looking out for them. Less support on offer. They are right. If idea is to build trust to do better quality work, idea of using surveillance as standard operating procedure is curious #BristolBLlecture
There has to be more transparency in family law. A push against powerlessness imposed by State when someone is not allowed to speak. Battle to get permission for @Survivecourt to speak was very lengthy #BristolBLlecture
Luckily @familoo and I eventually got an order from Bodey J allowing me to report. This is the most difficult work I have ever done. #BristolBLlecture
Difficulty is we are bound by section 12 Administration of Justice Act. This doesn't happen in any other court process unless national security is at stake - and State has to argue why they want to trump transparency! in family law that happens back to front! #BristolBLlecture
Article 10 is wrongly portrayed as only about press freedom. So much wider. Lawyers overlook that it is also about the right of citizens to protest. Is it any wonder parents seek out risky online spaces to talk about what has happened to them? #BristolBLlecture
the State should have to make its case for restricting transparency in family courts. That would make it more rigorous. totally unevidenced assertions made that publishing information will lead to identification of children #BristolBLlecture
When I applied for permission to appeal decision in October 2018 to refuse publication it cost £528 to seek permission £120 for transcript £1,999 for appeal fee hearing. Many thousands of pounds of pro bono work given by @SVPhillimore and @paulebowen
Louise has kindly at this stage put a picture of Uma Thurman on the powerpoint. #thanks
Concerned with the arguments made by family barristers about diminishing Article 10 rights. They should not be made. We should be able to go into family courts and describe what happens before the Judge #BRistolBLlecture
It cannot be simply asserted that terrible things will happen if reporting on malpractice is allowed. I have seen considerable arrogance. it is unattractive and unpersuasive. State does not get a free pass on scrutiny #BristolBLlecuture
Some places just don't publish judgments - Norfolk for e.g. You need so show your working so your thinking can be understood. How proces unfolds is vital to how it is experienced by those who are subject to it #BristolBLlecture
People deserve to know what is being done in their name. Reporting is not the complete answer to uncover society's failings. but media coverage can make a difference. yet to find any function of the state that operates better in secret #BRistolBLlecture
This is an outrage and I do not know how it has been tolerated this long. Sequestered from view, changes to family law will be agonisingly slow. Tensions strained to breaking point. #BristolBLlecture
HHJ SWQC - is there difference between criminal and family courts? Louise - both proceedings involve siginificant losses; freedom or children. So I don't see the difference. It is the state imposing its will. Most parents would rather lose freedom than children #BristolBLlecture
Audience q: distinction between private and public law ? Louise - decisions in private law are still pretty major.
What if one party objects in private law to journalist being present? you have to hear the objections but mere dislike is not compelling.
It would be very interesting to come back in five years time and see what Louise's experiences have been!
But once on the internet its there for ever? - Louise but if no names are used? @survivecourt's family make up quite distinctive. Changed the details of her family so couldn't be linked to her. Doesn't take much to do something editorially acceptable.
Difficult. Everyone is stressed for time. Audience - tech will change whole adoption interface. Real issue about social media and photos of children. Facial recognition! #BristolBLlecture
Audience - your use of word publisher - at moment social media companies DENY they are publishers - refusing to take any responsibility because they say it is unmanageable. is it governable?
Louise - I think it is publishing. Don't think we can imagine the world and respond to it given the speed that it is changing.
HHJ WBQC - when I started out in crime recording of police interviews was seen as controversial! Example of when recording directly contradicted the police officer's note. any discussion used in court HAS to be properly recorded. Just a few words can make all the difference.
Audience - WHY are the family courts so restrictive? Stunned that an essential part of our law is so anal. Yes, we must protect the child but it seems just completely unjust.
HHJ WB QC - very strong arguments about privacy. People don't want personal details out there. I wont express my own view but VERY strong views on the other side of openness. Right to privacy. No business in public domain and vulnerable children.
Children will say very strongly - you have NO business reporting our lives. We resent our lives being portrayed in this way. And once its done, its there for good. Article 8 balance
Audience - I don't understand it but at least i have heard the arguments. Louise - it is hard for someone like me to come along. Don't end up in family court without unpleasant stuff happening. But children can't understand the implications of allowing the State total privacy.
HHJ WB QC but this is where anonymisation becomes very important. Louise - any publication is a risk. But you can take very careful measures to limit knowledge to only immediate environment.
HHJ WB QC - and nor can we forget how badly the press has behaved. Audience - your trade is no more trusted than social workers.
Audience - social workers end up exposed in local area with no right of reply. Transparency cuts both ways.
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