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Update: crime

Ian Harris and David Birrell discuss tweeting in court, admissibility in the magistrates’ courts and changes to Crown Court fees

21 March 2011

Twitter guidance

Journalists were allowed to ‘tweet’ bail proceedings in Swedish Judicial Authority v Assange. There is currently a consultation process with a view to a protocol, but in the meantime there is interim guidance from the Lord Chief Justice about the use of “live text-based communications” in open court to report proceedings. There is no statutory prohibition on the use of such communications, but an application for such use must be made to the judge so that he or she can be satisfied that such use will not “interfere with the proper administration of justice”.

Clearly, if messages are being sent during evidence in trials to witnesses it can affect the integrity of the proceedings. The guidance can be viewed at 2010 All ER (D) 228 Dec.

The use of, for example, mobile telephones to text social arrangements and the like from court cannot interfere with justice. Practitioners are reminded of the apparent discourtesy and ...

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