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Social Media and Family Proceedings

View profile for John Boon
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The recent judgment of Mr Justice Holman in the case of Re: T (a Child) [2017] EWFC 19 highlighted the possible benefits of social media within family proceedings.  In this particular case, Facebook was used in order to ascertain the whereabouts of a child’s biological mother for the purposes of adoption proceedings.  This prompted Mr Justice Holman to refer to Facebook as “a useful tool in the armoury”.    The prevalence of social media in today’s society certainly means that it is much more straightforward to locate individuals, provided that they are active on such platforms.   

However, Facebook and other forms of electronic communication have frequently been the cause of problems in relationships and in ongoing family proceedings.   It is often the case that, during times of stress and high emotion, individuals take to social media in order to vent their frustrations, whether to their friends or directly towards the other party in the proceedings or people connected to them.  Such communications, which can often be sent in a fit of pique, can be referred to within Court proceedings.  Strict rules regarding confidentiality within family proceedings also mean that posting details of a case on social media could be viewed as a contempt of court.  This can result in the guilty party being fined, or even imprisoned.  It is thus important to think twice before sending any form of communications, whether via social media, e-mail or text message, which directly refer to or are relevant to ongoing proceedings, as they may ultimately be viewed by a member of the judiciary.    

Here at Roythornes, the members of our specialist Family Law team will be able to advise you on dealing with these matters, together a wide range of other family law issues.    They regularly deal with cases across the East Midlands, East Anglia, Kent and beyond.   The team is happy to accommodate a meeting at any of Roythornes four offices in Spalding, Peterborough, Nottingham or Newmarket, by telephone, or by Skype/video conferencing.  

Please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Family Law team by telephone – 01775 842500 – to discuss matters.   Alternatively, please send an email to nickingrey@roythornes.co.uk.