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Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980

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69 Sittings of magistrates’ courts for domestic proceedings.E+W

(1)The business of magistrates’ courts shall, so far as is consistent with the due dispatch of business, be arranged in such manner as may be requisite for separating the hearing and determination of [F1family proceedings] from other business.

(2)In the case of [F1family proceedings] in a magistrates’ court other than proceedings under [F2the Adoption and Children Act 2002], no person shall be present during the hearing and determination by the court of the proceedings except—

(a)officers of the court;

(b)parties to the case before the court, their [F3legal representatives], witnesses and other persons directly concerned in the case;

(c)representatives of newspapers or news agencies;

(d)any other person whom the court may in its discretion permit to be present, so, however, that permission shall not be withheld from a person who appears to the court to have adequate grounds for attendance.

(3)In relation to any [F1family proceedings] under [F2the Adoption and Children Act 2002], subsection (2) above shall apply with the omission of paragraphs (c) and (d).

(4)When hearing [F1family proceedings], a magistrates’ court may, if it thinks it necessary in the interest of the administration of justice or of public decency, direct that any persons, not being officers of the court or parties to the case, the parties’ [F4legal representatives], or other persons directly concerned in the case, be excluded during the taking of any indecent evidence.

(5)The powers conferred on a magistrates’ court by this section shall be in addition and without prejudice to any other powers of the court to hear proceedings in camera.

(6)Nothing in this section shall affect the exercise by a magistrates’ court of the power to direct that witnesses shall be excluded until they are called for examination.

(7)Until the coming into operation of the M1Adoption Act 1976 this section shall have effect as if for any reference to that Act there were substituted a reference to the M2Adoption Act 1958, the M3Adoption Act 1960 and Part I of the M4Children Act 1975.

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