Who? Emily Boardman, solicitor and a founding partner at Boardman, Hawkins & Osborne in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.
Why is she in the news? She was asked by freelance journalist Louise Tickle to assist in Tickle’s appeal against a reporting restriction made in a family case. The Court of Appeal approved the appeal and agreed to a new Reporting Restrictions Order that had been designed by the various lawyers involved. The president of the Family Division agreed to issue new guidance on reporting restrictions (see Rozenberg, p14).
Thoughts on the case: ‘The huge positive is the guidance we expect shortly from the president of the Family Division on reporting restrictions in family cases. We expect it to set out how practitioners (including judges) should deal with applications from the media to report on cases heard in a family court in a clear and accessible format. Until then the issue will continue to be dealt with one case at a time in an inconsistent manner.’
Dealing with the media: ‘Family lawyers are usually not trained to deal with the media, either when they turn up at court and want to report your case, or when you are involved in an interesting case and they want to talk to you. A media presence in family cases is something that practitioners do not automatically feel comfortable with, but there can be little doubt that the move is towards transparency and open scrutiny of decisions. I am pleased to have been involved in a case that has sought to define how that can be done safely for the family involved.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘My mother used to tell me I was so good at arguing I had to become a lawyer but I did not choose family law (or more specifically care proceedings) until I was at university. It seemed to me to be where human rights intersects with interesting and complex litigation, with the possibility of positively affecting the lives of vulnerable individuals. Which is exactly what is has been.’
Career high: ‘Setting up Boardman, Hawkins & Osborne LLP with two other people last year. We do only family law and mediation and we are committed to continuing to do legal aid for as long as we can. The partners are all care lawyers by training and that has influenced the type of firm we are and how we treat clients and our team.’
Career low: ‘The gradual eroding of legal aid that culminated in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act. Every day we turn away people who desperately need help from lawyers because their case is not covered by legal aid or they are not quite poor enough. The impact this has had on the functioning of the family law system is depressing beyond belief.’