Supreme Court proceedings live over the internet

16 May 2011 saw the launch of “Supreme Court TV”, which allows Supreme Court hearings and judgments to be watched live over the internet at http://news.sky.com/info/supreme-court. The court’s press release describes this as a “significant development for the transparency and accessibility of the highest court in the land”.

In another move to promote transparency and accessibility through the use of modern technology, the Supreme Court has approved the use of “live text based communications” (such as through Twitter) to report on events in court. Its policy published in February states that legal teams and members of the public are free to use such communications provided that they are silent and do not disrupt the proceedings, and subject to certain exceptions such as where there are formal reporting restrictions in place.

Different considerations apply outside the Supreme Court, in particular because of the potential impact on witnesses and jurors. Under interim guidance issued last December by the Lord Chief Justice, the court’s permission should be obtained for use of such communications. Following the interim guidance, a consultation has been conducted which may lead to further guidance or rules on this issue.

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