A reported proposal to test “digital trials”, with hearings held online, would be a threat to open justice and could confuse some defendants into pleading guilty, say critics and academics. Elsewhere, concerns have been expressed about local journalists having access to the court. Read a piece in The Guardian here.
As part of a billion-pound modernization of the court system, a panel was set up in January 2018 to help the media have better access to the courts: partly to counter a decline in court reporting. Proposals included training staff to understand the media’s needs. Read more
Parents and even editors are afraid to talk about what goes on in the family courts, a freelance journalist declared at a debate on privacy versus accountability in this sensitive area. “A sense of fear pervades the system,” said Louise Tickle. Democracy suffered, the audience was told. Read more from The Transparency Project here.
The Sun reports that producers of Coronation Street got things badly wrong when they showed an artist sketching an alleged rape victim as she gave evidence. It couldn’t happen in real life. Why would it be illegal – on two counts? Check your answers here
Legal expert Cleland Thom says the Independent website was wrong to justify lifting facts from court copy on the basis that there is no copyright in news as long as it is re-written. Retaining just 11 consecutive words can be a breach. But it is legally unsafe for other reasons too, as well as raising ethical questions. Read more
Despite open justice, empty press benches in court mean “justice operates essentially unseen and unheard by the public”, a senior barrister has warned in an article. He says this gives rise to false myths about how court cases operate. Reporters often piece together reports based on “fragments” of a case, writes Andrew Langdon QC, chairman of the Bar Council. Read more.