In the recent case of BT v CU [2021] EWFC 87, Mr Justice Mostyn indicated that his default position would be to publish financial remedy judgments in full without anonymisation, although he would continue to anonymise the identities of any children.

This judgment is unsurprising in light of the recent report on transparency in the Family Court in which the President of the Family Division encouraged greater transparency in family proceedings and widened the scope for judgments to be published.

Practically, however, this is likely to cause parties involved in litigation some concern. For example, if the parents are identifiable from a judgment realistically, the children will also be. Similarly this will cause clients with public profiles much concern as private information pertaining to their family life will be available publicly. This decision will also impact cases involving business owners and sensitive commercial issues relating to a family business.

It seems likely if Mr Justice Mostyn's position is widely adopted then more people will be inclined to make use of alternative dispute resolution procedures, such as arbitration, mediation and/or early neutral evaluations, which can guarantee parties greater privacy. The judiciary are in any event eager to encourage parties to resolve issues without the involvement of the court due to the significant backlog of cases resulting from court closures/limited administrative operations during COVID-19. If Mr Justice Mostyn's indication results in more people not engaging in litigation then that will likely be viewed by the Family Court as an additional positive.

Family practitioners should make sure when a client is considering issuing financial remedy proceedings they are aware there is a real risk that any final judgment may be published in full without anonymisation.