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Judges’ sentencing to be broadcast from Crown Courts

Judges’ remarks are to be broadcast from Crown Courts under draft legislation to be laid by government.

The Crown Court (Recording and Broadcasting) Order 2020 will permit the sentencing remarks of High Court and senior circuit judges in certain criminal cases to be filmed and broadcast to the public. No other court users – including victims, witnesses, jurors and court staff – will appear on camera.

The draft legislation follows a three-month pilot that allowed not-for-broadcast sentencing remarks to be filmed in eight Crown Courts.

President of the Law Society, Simon Davis, said:

“Transparency is an indispensable principle of justice, vital to improving public confidence in our courts.

“Done sensitively, and with the appropriate reporting restrictions, broadcasting from the courts during some proceedings – such as sentencing – could add significant value and assist in the rule of law being respected.

“Which proceedings are broadcast must be always be considered carefully. It is important to avoid putting the fairness of trials at risk – or creating undue stress for defendants, witnesses, and victims alike.”

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