Top judge says open justice underpins the rule of law
Interesting. You may wish to note that Kieran Pender, the distinguished Australian legal journalist, has compared Australian open justice with that in the UK and Canada in a recent law review article. Link below:
One step at a time over televising and certainly I am for it in respect of sentencing remarks and also regard that step as beneficial and awareness raising.
I support Lord Burnett also over what ought to be the resolve of all committed to delivery of justice to maintain transparency as he opines.
That said, I am very much with Celia Kitzinger : there are serious shortcomings over access to the likes of journalists and researchers to the judicial process in whichever field of law.
I go further: we truly do need to go back to basics in that the relevant authorities ought to seek the most extensive consultations to include all court users. I say this since in my own (relatively) recent experience in West Midlands Courts whenever Courtrooms are renovated or adapted little or no regard is had to meaningful access to many categories of Court users.
Generally speaking Judges and advocates ARE catered for but what of:
. interpreters (scarcely ever properly accommodated);
. of course, Probation Officers and Social Workers;
. defendants, often housed in “docks” inset into the rear wall of these “Courts”;
. and consequently members of the public and friends and relatives of the accused and witnesses, unable with their seating arrangements to see those in the dock AT ALL;
. AND: what of audibility with defendants housed in docks behind such dense screens that neither they, nor the general public, nor in some cases the ADVOCATES or even the JUDGES can hear or be heard adequately or at all?
Now I have been deafened, rather than deaf, all my life BUT THEN so are a hefty percentage of our citizenry and it is for the authorities to enable us to hear, provided as in my case through e g minor surgery I have done all I can to enhance the hearing I have.
All of that requires us to go back to square one if TRULY as a nation exercised over open justice.
And by the way why are we so obsessed with DOCKS, where they are the major cause often of these basic shortcomings?
Finally, there is so much technological audibility “aids” sometimes present in especially adapted Courtrooms that comprehension is dis enabled rather than enhanced. Input from all Court users would prevent so much of this.
AND finally , finally judicial review hearings in the High Court, especially where against the government, in my view should certainly be televised subject naturally to the usual cautious approach to the details.
The judiciary frequently makes lofty statements of principle about the importance of open justice, while showing no apparent awareness of the multiple barriers to open justice in practice. Open justice isn 't working *on the ground*. Journalists and members of the public struggle to gain access to the vast majority of court and tribunal hearings every day. The basic infrastructure for open justice is missing: we don't have comprehensive listings, sufficient (trained) court staff to direct the public to the correct courtroom or send out links, or easy access to court documents. Reading some submissions to the MoJ Consultation on "Open Justice - the way forward" (https://courtobservers.wordpress.com/submissions-to-moj-consultation-open-justice-the-way-forward/) would bring Lord Burnett back down to earth with a bump. Fine words butter no parsnips.