The special nature of family law proceedings, which often involve children, requires that a balance be struck between the need for open justice and a family’s right to privacy. The Family Law Act and the Family Law Rules restrict how the media can record court proceedings and what information can be published or broadcast. Section 121 of the Family Law Act 1975 makes it an offence to publish proceedings or images that identify people involved in family law proceedings unless a Publication Order has been made or another section 121 exemption applies.
A breach of section 121 by the media, another organisation or individual may be referred to the Australian Federal Police for investigation. Offences in relation to section 121 are indictable offences and may result in imprisonment if an offence is found to have been committed.