Protection of your privacy in court proceedings

Can extracts or reports of family law proceedings be published? 
How safe is your personal information?

These questions often pop up.

Section 121 of the Family Law Act prohibits dissemination to the public by publication in a newspaper or periodical publication, radio broadcast, television or by other electronic means, of material that provides an account of proceedings or part proceedings that would identify a party to the proceedings or a witness.

How can you be identified?  There are many factors that could identify you for example:

  • Name, title, alias
  • Home or work address
  • Physical description or style of dress
  • Employment or occupation
  • Relationship to identified relatives
  • Recreational interests
  • Political, philosophical or religious beliefs
  • Personal property
  • Real estate

Be very careful in any information you wish to publish from family law proceedings that could breach this section of the legislation as you may find that criminal proceedings could follow.  If the offence is proven criminal court could impose imprisonment as a punishment for a period up to one year.

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