In a recent memo to the administrative judges, chief administrative judge of the New York State Office of Court Administration, Justice A. Gail Prudenti,set forth guidelines for compliance with Rule 205.4 of the Uniform Rules of the Family Court
The guidelines are as follows:
"Courtrooms in the Family Court are open to the public pursuant to Rule 205.4 of the Uniform
Rules of the Family Court. The court must be mindful of the presumption of open access before
excluding any person from a Family Court proceeding.
This memorandum provides general guidelines to help ensure public access to Family Court
· In a respectful manner, court staff may ask each person who seeks entrance to a
courtroom if they are a party, witness, or otherwise associated with a specific calendared
· A person who wishes to observe the proceedings will be permitted to sit in the courtroom
subject to the limitations of courtroom capacity.
· Courtroom staff will inform the Judge if there is a member of the press or an observer in
the courtroom and whether or not he or she has any role in the case.
· When a case is called, the Judge may advise the parties that there is an observer in the
courtroom and ask if anyone has an objection.
· On a case-by-case basis, prior to ordering exclusion, the Judge must make findings, based
upon supporting evidence, that the exclusion is warranted. The Judge may consider the
factors enumerated within Rule 205.4."