South Africa: A mistrial for Oscar Pistorius? We think not – Dario Milo and Stuart Scott

15 07 2014

pistorius_2486158bOn Sunday night, Australia’s Channel 7 broadcast a video showing Oscar Pistorius apparently re-enacting various moments from the night he killed Reeva Steenkamp.  The footage was reportedly filmed in October 2013 by a US company, The Evidence Room, and reports say that it was commissioned by the defence team to assist with trial preparation in order to reconstruct Oscar Pistorius’ version of events. Read the rest of this entry »





How open will this newly opened justice be? – Lawrence McNamara,

14 06 2014

Royal Courts of JusticeAs the dust settles after Thursday’s Court of Appeal decision on whether a terrorism trial can be held in secret, there continue to be more questions than answers about what we know and what we will know. Read the rest of this entry »





Secret trials – a little transparency, a lot to worry about – Lawrence McNamara

12 06 2014

rcj-restricted-accessThe Court of Appeal has published its decision in Guardian News Media v AB and CD. It is not a judgment, the Court says. Judgments – plural – will be given “in due course.” Still, the 24 paragraph decision contains the order and explanation of the order, and gives an indication of some of the reasons that will follow. Read the rest of this entry »





Trial by Television, Lessons from Pretoria – Jonathan McCully

25 04 2014

Oscar Pistorius trialWhether cameras should be allowed into our courtrooms has been a much debated issue for over 20 years. In England and Wales the Supreme Court has been been filmed since its creation in 2009, whilst the Court of Appeal finally let the television cameras in on the 31st October 2013. So why should England and Wales take notice of the media’s handling of the Oscar Pistorius trial? Have we not now accepted cameras in our courts? Read the rest of this entry »





Case Law: NAB v Serco Limited, Court grants access to sexual assault report

24 04 2014

Yarls WoodThe strong presumption in favour of public access to documents referred to in Court proceedings was emphasised by the High Court in the case of NAB v Serco ([2014] EWHC 1225 (QB)).  Bean J dismissed an application by Serco Limited to restrict access by the Guardian to an internal report into sexual assaults at Yarls Wood Immigration Removal Centre which had been mentioned in court proceedings. Read the rest of this entry »





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 »








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