Open Justice

Justice Online: just as good? Joshua Rozenberg on the online court

Giving the first of three annual talks on the creation of the online court, Joshua Rozenberg painted an optimistic vision of a future in which civil litigation would become fast, efficient and affordable to all. Surveying the chequered history of courts modernisation over the last 30 years, he explained why it was hoped this particular government IT project would succeed where so many others seemed to have failed. The talk was largely drawn from Joshua’s recent e-book, The Online …

Continue Reading

Miller: hearing documents and understanding a case in the Supreme Court

The way the cases have been presented in the Supreme Court this week in the appeals against R (Miller & Anor) v The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union [2016] EWHC 2768 (Admin) ; [2016] WLR(D) 564 has shown how much court cases can be opened up for the understanding of interested members of the public and press. 

In this article David Burrows looks at the extent to which the law permits this; at what the arrangements were to …

Continue Reading

Justice down the rabbit-hole: Fulford LJ on the Rise of the Cyber Judge

With the creation of the online court, the principle of open justice must not be overlooked, said Lord Justice Fulford, giving the annual University of Sussex Draper Lecture 2016 at the Law Society on Tuesday, 8 November. Justice, he said, must not “disappear down an Alice-style rabbit-hole”. But it soon became clear to many in the audience that the question of public scrutiny and reporting of the online courts was very much an afterthought.

Paul Magrath …

Continue Reading

“To be heard in the dining hall…”: Scott 100 years on

“To be heard in the dining hall…”:   Scott 100 years on

The open justice principle identified in Scott v Scott [1913] AC 417 remains the default position for family proceedings. Any derogation or departure must be justified as an exception. The approach of the Family Procedure Rules (in FPR r 27.10), purporting to reverse the polarity of that presumption of open justice, ought to be regarded as ultra vires (ie not within the statutory powers of the rule makers: see Courts Act 2003 ss 75 and 76) — not to mention …

Continue Reading

Open justice and the Rule of Law

Open justice and the Rule of Law

“The law belongs to the people. Access to the legal system is a basic right and a public good.” So declared the Chief Justice of Canada, the Rt Hon Beverley McLachlin PC, in response to fellow Canadian, Szilvia Booker, a barrister practising in England, who had asked the Chief Justice whether the principle of open justice should mean not just that the courts were open to all but also that the justice dispensed there was accessible to all.

Continue Reading

Cameras in court – the Lex Factor

The promise of open justice is not fulfilled where viewers have no idea and no explanation of what is going on.

Yesterday, following a change in the law, proceedings in the Court of Appeal were broadcast live on television for the first time in this country. This new development was designed to make English justice more open and accessible. But will it have that effect?

The first hearing of the Court of Appeal to be broadcast live on television, …

Continue Reading

Further reflections on the niqab ruling

Open Justice

The recent decision by a Crown Court judge requiring a Muslim woman defendant to remove her niqaab (face-covering veil) when giving evidence in her own defence, but permitting her to keep it on during the rest of the trial, has prompted a good deal of comment in the social media.

The reasons given by His Honour Judge Peter Murphy were detailed and careful, and while recognising that the point was a new one, not covered by any existing authority, …

Continue Reading

Least said soonest mended? Secret hearing at the Supreme Court

Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court

Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, made the following statement in open court in the course of hearing an appeal from the Court of Appeal’s majority decision in Bank Mellat v HM Treasury (No 2) [2011] EWCA Civ 1

[2012] QB 101 [2011] 3 WLR 714 on appeal from Mitting J [2010] EWHC 1332 (QB) [2010] WLR (D) 148.

“Yesterday morning, having heard full argument on the issue the …

Continue Reading

Cameras in court: an appealing prospect?

Lord Judge

TV cameras will be allowed into the Court of Appeal for the first time from October 2013 and senior judges will be offered training before appearing on camera, the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge told the Lords Constitution Committee on 30 January.

The select committee takes evidence from the Lord Chief Justice (pictured above) each year and questions him on the state of the law, the judiciary and legal services. This year’s session (Lord Judge’s last, before retiring later …

Continue Reading

Supreme Court judgments on YouTube

The Supreme Court is now giving judgments in the most open court imaginable: the court of public opinion, otherwise known as YouTube. 

As of today, the Supreme Court is making available a collection of 25 video summaries of its judgments given last term, between October and December 2012, on its own dedicated YouTube channel, UKSupremeCourt. This Wednesday, when it gives a further three judgments – in the cases of R (Prudential plc) v Special Commissioner of Income Tax; …

Continue Reading