Media Law: 7 Access to courts Flashcards Preview

Media Law > Media Law: 7 Access to courts > Flashcards

Flashcards in Media Law: 7 Access to courts Deck (45):

areas of law that say courts should be public

- case law
- statute law
- guidelines for court system


case summing up media access to courts

- A-G v Leveller Magazine (1979)
- nothing should discourage fair and accurate publication of court proceedings
- UNLESS it would 'frustrate or render impracticable the administration of justice'


case summing up embarrassment

- Scott v Scott (1913)
- embarrassment NOT a reason for private courts


which HRA article is free trial?

- Article 6


HRA provisions for trial in private

- interest of morals, public order or national security
- in order to protect juveniles
- in order to protect private life of parties
- when publicity would prejudice justice


main article of HRA that needs balancing with Private Life

- Article 10: freedom of expression


DEF: something to take into account when considering banning access

- principle of proportionality
- e.g. could a ban on reporting be just as effective as a ban on public access?


sources of court guidelines

- Civil Procedure Rules
- guidelines issued by Judicial Studies Board (latest 2009)


principles set out in guidelines

- generally, courts should be public
- restriction of access should be exceptional / necessity
- courts must stay in line with Articles 6 (trial) and 10 (expression) of HRA
- media representation before access restriction, or if varying or lifting restrictions


types of hearing (in terms of access)

- in open court
- in private
- in chambers


hearings in open court

- held in courtroom
- public and press allowed
- reporting restrictions can still apply (either automatically or by order)


hearing in private

- neither public nor press allowed
- formerly known as 'in camera'
- NO reporting restrictions (providing someone there is willing to tell the press what happened)
- BUT privilege defence for defamation doesn't count
- AND reporting certain private proceedings is contempt


McPherson v McPherson (1936)

- Govt minister divorce
- 'open' proceedings behind door ajar with PRIVATE sign
- Privy Council ruled it was invalid


hearings in chambers

- in judges' offices, etc. (usually for convenience)
- press don't have right to attend, but if requested they should be given access where possible


when hearing in chambers are interesting

- fairly rare
- Hodgson v Imperial Tobacco
- judges discretion to make arrangements (e.g. one member of press allowed to take notes)


what to do if you're unsure about access

- ask for an enquiry to be sent to the judge


sources of access restrictions (and where they apply)

- common law (any courts)
- statutory powers (specific courts)
- court rules (specific courts)


Warrington Guardian case (2008)

- journalist not allowed in bail hearing or given verdict after
- sent letter to judge, received verdict few hours after


DEF: general common law power giving courts power to control their own proceedings

- 'inherent jurisdiction'


inherent jurisdiction rare

- most judges will use statutory powers
- inherent jurisdiction should be used exceptionally
- cannot be used for embarrassment


legislation saying magistrates should sit in open court

- Magistrates' Court Act 1980
- when trying a case, passing sentence or acting as examining judges


2009 guidelines from Judicial Studies Board outlining when restrictions acceptable

- public hearing would disrupt justice
- 'necessity' is key (e.g. embarrassment NO, national security YES)
- relevant evidence must be provided
- court should use less restrictive measure if possible
- other alternative: using pseudonym for witnesses and banning publication of real name
- can exclude for only part of trial
- if public removed due to disorder, media should be allowed to stay


child witnesses in sex offence

- Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999
- court can remove public if witness under 18 giving evidence
- press NOT included in this
- EXCEPT in Northern Ireland


special measures directions

- similar to child witness rules


hearings in camera

- for national security, to protect witness ID, etc.
- party wanting hearing in camera must apply in writing 7 days in advance
- press can make representations against this decision


Youth Court proceedings

- public not allowed (except at courts discretion)
- press should not be excluded


applications for further detention

- guidelines say not in open court


cases under Official Secrets Act

- court can order public (or section of it) from courtroom
- only if national security in danger


obtaining info from criminal courts

- Crown Court lists ONLINE
- Magistrates will give lists to press on the day
register of decisions in magistrates courts available on request to clerks
- courts should provide local newspapers with copy of court register once it's prepared


how much do court lists cost?

- since Jack Straw in 2008: NOTHING


minimum info on court lists

- name
- age
- address
- profession
- offence


what shit don't you stand for?

- court clerks slapping the Data Protection Act on yo ass!


information from the prosecution

- new Protocol from DPP in 2005
- media has access to as much relevant info as possible, as quickly as possible


information prosecution used to make case, including:

- CCTV footage
- photos/video reconstructions of crime
- maps/photos/diagrams/drawings used in court
- from police: video footage, seized property, weapons, etc.
- transcripts of statements read out in court


other info held by prosecution

- ONLY after consultation with CPS, police, victims
- statements made by witnesses/victims
- video/audio of police interviews
- CCTV involving the victim


when civil cases can be held in private

- publicity would make proceedings pointless
- national security
- confidential info (including financial)
- contains uncontentious matters of administration of trust or estate of deceased
- protecting a child or patient
- application without notice
- to protect interests of justice


applications for injunctions

- usually in open court if person injunction against represented by a lawyer
- NOT for domestic violence cases
- Queen's Bench private; Chancery Division open


information you are entitled to in civil cases

- 'statement of case'
- payment of a fee


what 'statement of case' includes

- claim form (claim and parties' names)
- particulars of the claim (further details)
- defence put forward by other side
- Part 20 claims (any claims not by claimant)
- reply to the defence
- any other info voluntarily given


does this include judicial review?

- yes, since 2008


what about written statements given to jury but not read out?

- yeah, you should be able to get those too


reason for not releasing documents

- in the interests of justice
- public interest
- nature of medical evidence contained in statement


DEF: documents barristers use explaining the points they intend to make

- 'skeleton arguments'
- should be provided to press if used as basis of oral statement


case that got press access to skeleton arguments

- Howell, Harris and May (2003)


can you get information after court case is over?

- judges say yes
- this is based on David Leigh's BAE story