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The UK Supreme Court ruled last week that journalists and members of the public can use twitter, texts and email to post live feeds about proceedings in the Court.


However, the court made provision for important exceptions where such live communications will not be allowed, for example to protect the interests of children or where there is a risk, particularly in criminal cases, of the jury or witnesses being influenced or prejudiced by the practice.


Judges will also have discretion to withdraw the permission in particular cases if the communications interfere with the proceedings or to restrict it to journalists and not the public gallery.


The President of the Supreme Court stated that allowing twitter updates would keep the public better informed about important cases and also keep the justice system up to date with technological developments.  He said that there was rarely a need for confidentiality by the time cases reached the Supreme Court and that its cases do not usually involve interaction with witnesses or jurors.


This does not mean to say that journalists and others will be free to say what they like about cases. Telecommunications are still subject to laws governing contempt of court and libel. So they will have to ensure that what they report is accurate and free from personal opinion.


For further advice on the rules governing electronic communications, please see a solicitor specialising in this area.



Written by Andrew Hodges

February 15, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , , ,

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