LCJ gives go-ahead for court tweeting
The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, has announced that reporters and legal commentators can now “use live, text-based communications from court may do so without making an application to the court” or seeking any other permissions.
The right, set out in new guidance issued by the Lord Chief Justice does not affect those other than the press or legal commentators, for example members of the public or friends and family of someone involved in a case, who will still need to make an application – either formally or informally – to the judge through court staff.
The permission for journalists – which can be withdrawn if it is seen to be interfering with the administration of justice – is seen as helping to enable the media to produce fair and accurate reports of proceedings, and as such should not generally be restrained.
The guidance makes it clear that phones should be in silent mode if used and that normal restrictions on reporting proceedings will still apply, as will the prohibition on photography.
Although the ban on tweeting continues in Scotland, it has been indicated that this too will be reviewed.
The guidance, which is entitled “Practice Guidance: The Use of Live Text-based Forms of Communication (Including Twitter) From Court for the Purpose of fair and Accurate Reporting” can be found on the Judiciary web site at www.judiciary.gov.uk/Resources/JCO/Documents/Guidance/ltbc-guidance-dec-2011.pdf