Transparency in the Justice System
Kenneth Clarke (Lord Chancellor, Secretary of State, Justice; Rushcliffe, Conservative)
The Government have today introduced legislation to enable the filming and broadcast of selected court proceedings in England and Wales.
As a first step, we plan to allow filming of judgments and legal arguments in the Court of Appeal. Cases in the Court of Appeal normally deal with complex issues of law or evidence, and victims and witnesses rarely appear in order to provide new evidence. Given the complexity of legal issues in Court of Appeal cases, we believe that allowing advocates’ arguments to be filmed in addition to judgments would be more likely to improve public understanding of the criminal justice system than judgments alone.
We are clear that this should not be at the expense of the proper administration of justice, and that protecting the interests of victims and witnesses must remain paramount. Existing reporting restrictions will continue to apply and we have no intention of allowing victims, witnesses, defendants or jurors to be filmed. However, we believe that television has a role to play in opening up the criminal justice system, and are therefore removing the ban on cameras in courts to allow broadcasting in certain limited circumstances.
The Government hope to see broadcasting extended to judges’ sentencing remarks in the Crown Court in due course, and we are working with the judiciary to achieve this.
A paper has been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses, providing more detail on our proposals to allow broadcasting of selected court proceedings.