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Wednesday 21 March 2018

Landmark day for justice: television broadcasting in courts goes live

Live television broadcasting from the Court of Appeal can begin from today, Courts Minister Shailesh Vara has announced.


This significant change will allow for unprecedented access to the country’s judicial process and will allow television broadcasters to film the legal arguments and the final judgment in criminal and civil cases.


Courts Minister Shailesh Vara said:

This is a landmark moment that will give the public the opportunity to see and hear the decisions of judges in their own words. It is another significant step towards achieving our aim of having an open and transparent justice system.


We are clear that justice must be seen to be done and people will now have the opportunity to see that process with their own eyes. It will also help further the public’s understanding of the often complex process of criminal and civil proceedings.


While this marks an opening up of the court process we will always balance the need to make the justice system more accessible with the needs of victims and witnesses. That is why we will ensure that throughout the court process, they will not be filmed.

The move comes after legislation was agreed by Parliament.


Advocates’ arguments, and the judges’ summing up, decision and (in criminal cases) sentencing remarks may be filmed.


The Government intends to commence consideration of the filming of sentencing remarks in the crown court in the future. However, victims, witnesses, offenders and jurors will continue to be protected, and will not be part of broadcasts.


Proceedings in the country’s highest court, The Supreme Court, are already streamed live on the internet.


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