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Call for Court of Appeal to consider divorce court quandary

A landmark decision by a senior Judge could have significant implications for couples involved in high-value divorce settlements.

Speaking during a hearing, Mr Justice Moor has said that couples who have details about their private lives and finances widely publicised in the media during family court proceedings may have grounds for a legal challenge.

The Judge suggested that the time may have come for the Court of Appeal to consider the issue of how much information should be placed in the public domain.

He said that such a debate may be “overdue” as it becomes increasingly apparent that there is a split in the highest ranks of the judiciary.

Some Judges have argued that divorce proceedings are intrinsically private affairs and there should be strict controls on the details that newspapers and other media outlets are allowed to report.

Mr Justice Mostyn is among those who have voiced discomfort at the way certain cases have been covered.

“Reporting how a case is conducted, and what legal points are raised, in an abstract way is one thing, laying bare the intimate details of the parties’ private lives is altogether another,” he said recently.

But this view goes against previous comments by Sir James Munby, president of the family division, which have set out the case for increased transparency.