Big money divorce cases 'need clarification on what public told after Giggs row'

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Specialist lawyers have urged ministers and judges to clarify what the public can be told about people in big money divorce fights after Ryan Giggs dropped a bid to bar reporters from hearings of his dispute with estranged wife Stacey.

Giggs had initially wanted arguments about how cash should be split in the wake of his marriage breakdown to be analysed in secret.

A judge on Friday imposed limits on what journalists would be able to report after an application by Giggs.

But Mr Justice Cobb said the former Manchester United and Wales footballer was no longer asking for reporters to be locked out of hearings.

He had considered issues relating to reporting at a preliminary private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

News of the Giggs dispute has emerged after two High Court judges outlined opposing views on reporting of divorce money fights.

Mr Justice Holman, who analyses fights at public hearings, has said there is a ''pressing need'' for more openness.

Mr Justice Mostyn, who analyses fights at private hearings, has said such disputes are ''quintessentially private business''.

Both judges, like Mr Justice Cobb, sit in the Family Division of the High Court, where divorce fights involving millionaires are analysed.

They have both explained their thinking in rulings on cases.

Other judges also stage hearings in private and appear to side with Mr Justice Mostyn.

Lawyer Toby Hales, a specialist in family litigation at law firm at Seddons, said the latest development in the Giggs dispute demonstrated "the uncertainty of privacy".

"The problem stems from one factor only," he said.

"There is no clarity of purpose in the media's involvement in family justice.

"Lawyers would like certainty on this subject and it is time that the Government provides this.'

Kirstie Law, a family litigation specialist at law firm Thomson Snell & Passmore, added: "At present it is up to the individual judge, meaning there is uncertainty for all, including the press.

"Perhaps it is time that the courts provide lawyers and the media with certainty on this subject."

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