I'm a freelance journalist specialising in writing about child protection and family law. When, in October, I saw a judge in a family court make an order restricting the media's freedom of speech in a case which I believe had a very strong public interest reason to be reported, I decided to appeal his decision.
I argued that his decision was made unlawfully and without due process. Thanks to incredibly generous donations on a previous crowdfunder, I was able to pay the costs (£750ish to date) of applying for permission to appeal.
Last week I was thrilled to find out that that a court of appeal judge felt I have a decent prospect of succeeding in my fight to overturn the reporting restriction: the hearing for the appeal is listed for one full day (though no date has been given as yet).
However, I have just today received a letter from the Royal Courts of Justice telling me that this hearing will cost a further £1199. The cheque needs to reach the RCJ by 2 January. I've already spent significant amounts of unpaid time in making the application. And I can't afford this fee.
This appeal is about whether the family courts should be allowed to restrict our freedom of expression - which allows scrutiny and accountabilty in an otherwise completely secret judicial process - without going through due process of the law.
Can you help me to afford to pay for this hearing so that it goes ahead? It's important, not *only* so that this case – which involved a young child's future, and whether she could grow up in her birth family – can be reported, but just as importantly, so that family courts do not disregard the law on freedom of expression which permits society to know what is being done in its name.