Broadcasting the Oscar Pistorius criminal trial – Dario Milo

4 04 2014

Oscar Pistorius trialIn the past weeks, hundreds of thousands of people around the world have been able to hear and see on television, radio and the Internet the evidence being led in the criminal trial of Oscar Pistorius. Pistorius stands accused of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine’s morning last year. Read the rest of this entry »

Privilege and reporting the contents of documents read by the court – Hugh Tomlinson QC

25 02 2014

_67367788_courts_bbcThe fair and accurate reporting of court proceedings has long been protected from libel action by the defence of “privilege”. Contemporaneous fair and accurate reports of court proceedings in public are now protected by absolute privilege and other fair and accurate reports by qualified privilege. In the former case no libel action can be brought, in the latter an action will only succeed if malice is proved. Read the rest of this entry »

Will Marine “A” keep his anonymity? – James Michael

19 11 2013

_70999958_70992440Five Royal Marines have lodged a challenge against a ruling that they can be named following the conviction of one of them for the murder of an injured insurgent in Afghanistan. Identification of ‘Marine A’ and three other Marines was prohibited by order of the court-martial which convicted Marine A of murder. At the time of the trial this order was explained in the press as necessary to protect the defendants from physical attacks. Read the rest of this entry »

Case Law: Re J (A Child), Limiting the scope of injunctions in family cases – Hugh Tomlinson QC

5 11 2013

MUNBY_2629027bIn the case of Re J (A Child) ([2013] EWHC 2694 (Fam), the President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, considered an application for a contra mundum injunction by Staffordshire County Council.  He emphasised that the only proper purpose of such an injunction was to protect the child and refused to make an order in the wide terms sought by the Council.  As a result, he allowed the publication of video footage and photographs of a baby being removed from its parents. Read the rest of this entry »

Case Law: R (Fagan) v Justice Secretary, Court of Appeal refuses anonymity for offender – Rosalind English

27 10 2013

anonymity21In the case of R (on the application of) Fagan v Secretary of State for Justice [2013] EWCA Civ 1275) the Court of Appeal held that only “clear and cogent evidence” that it was strictly necessary to keep an offender’s identity confidential would lead a court to derogate from the principle of open justice. The possibility of a media campaign that might affect the offender’s resettlement could not work as a justification for banning reporting about that offender, even though a prominent and inaccurate report about him had already led to harassment of his family. Read the rest of this entry »

Contempt: Niqab in court row covered the defendant’s identity – Mike Dodd

21 09 2013

Niqab CourtThe niqab at the centre of a court hearing over whether a witness could wear such a garment while giving evidence in a Crown Court covered more than the face of defendant Rebekah Dawson – it also hid her identity from the readers of most newspapers. Read the rest of this entry »

Greater Transparency in the Family Courts: New Draft Guidance – Dania Rifaat

9 09 2013

Sir James MunbyProposed new guidance [pdf] recommends that decisions of the family courts should always be published, unless there are compelling reasons against publication. Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division of the High Court, has issued the proposed guidance to facilitate the “need for greater transparency” in the family courts. Read the rest of this entry »

Reporting Restrictions and Anonymity Orders in Northern Ireland – Olivia O’Kane

28 07 2013

anonymity21Northern Ireland Editor’s Liaison Group is made up of senior editors within the local broadcast and newspaper industry in Northern Ireland.  The aim of this informal group of editors is to discuss matters of general concern and as to how the media industry operates in this jurisdiction. Read the rest of this entry »

Ireland, Open justice and access to court documents: a footnote – Eoin O’Dell

10 06 2013

stlcourtdocs2Article 34.1 of the Constitution provides that “Justice … shall be administered in public“. By way of footnote to my earlier post on Open justice and access to court documents comes the decision of Hogan J in Allied Irish Bank plc v Tracey (No 2) [2013] IEHC 242 (21 March 2013). The applicant had been mentioned in affidavits filed by the defendant in the main action, and took this motion to have access to those affidavits. Read the rest of this entry »

Case Comment: R (M) v Parole Board – No anonymity for convicted child killer – Edward Craven

29 05 2013

David McGreavyIn R (M) v Parole Board [2013] EWHC 1360 the High Court held the media should be free to identify a convicted murderer who brought judicial review proceedings challenging a Parole Board decision that he must remain in closed prison conditions. The case is an example of the need for judicial vigilance whenever parties agree that anonymity is appropriate. Read the rest of this entry »


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