On the day before the publication the Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, pre-empted the summary (despite saying he didn't want to do so), when he delivered the Lord Williams of Mostyn Memorial Lecture. He summed up the responses of children as follows:
As a result, it seems that the government is going to water-down proposals for reform:
Over the course of the consultation well over 200 children gave their views, some of whom had been involved in care proceedings. Overwhelmingly they rejected the idea – with the clear support of key third-party organisations speaking up for the interests of children. They are clear – crystal clear – that they do not want the family court filled with people who have no involvement in proceedings.
They do not want people in the court hearing private details of their lives. They are worried about themselves or their families being identified by people whom they do not trust to report responsibly.
We need to ensure that people know more about what goes on in the court room; for example, the reasons conclusions are reached by the court. We also need to be clear that families and children know what they rightly regard as private information, rightly remains private. That may well involve allowing the press or the public in only where the judge expressly agrees as an exception.
I can't say I'm sorry. As I've mentioned before, I've always had concerns about opening up the family courts, particularly because of the effect upon the most important people involved - the children themselves.