Use of covert recordings in family law proceedings involving children
To consider the issues arising from covert recording from a multi-disciplinary viewpoint, and thereafter to make recommendations as to the formulation of FJC guidance.
Natasha Watson (Co-Chair)
Jaime Craig (Co-Chair)
HHJ Karen Venables
HHJ Mary Lazarus – Judge
The development of guidance to encourage good practice in relation to professionals – to diminish the need for covert recordings by promoting accurate and overt recordings of professional interaction.
Terms of Reference:
To consider the issues arising from covert recording from a multi-disciplinary viewpoint, and thereafter to make recommendations as to the formulation of possible FJC Guidance by considering:
Potential issues and consequences (welfare and otherwise) arising from different categories of covert recording, specifically:
- Overt recording of child but without informed consent of all those with parental responsibility and/or the child
- Covert recording of child in different environments without the child and/or carers knowledge or informed consent
- Parent to parent or other private adult individuals
- Covert recording of professionals –in different professional settings
- Covert recordings by professionals
Legality of obtaining the recordings : The extent to which covert recordings in each of the categories above fall within or outside of the Data Protection Act, Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), in so far as it applies the subsequent 2016 Investigatory Powers Act , and the interplay with Article 8 considerations.
Consideration of any current guidance, or best practice of different professional bodies, regarding their approach either as subjects of covert recording, or being asked to consider covertly recorded material in the course of their work.
Recommendations as to the need for professional bodies to have published guidance in relation to overt and covert recordings.
Consideration of how the perceived need for covert recordings might be addressed.
Admissibility and evidential value of covert recordings.
The interplay with Articles 6 and 8.
Practicalities: Expectations and required/ proportionate methodology relating to verification of the recording.
Control, publication and distribution: The extent to which covert recordings lodged in evidence are available for publication without the consent of the court.
Any implications arising from General Data Protection Regulation (GDPA), which comes into force in May 2018.
Establishing and considering the perspective of young people in relation to the above.