A report by the House of Commons Justice Select Committee on open justice has backed our co-founder Ed Owen’s recommendations to improve media access to criminal courts.
Ed was Director of Communications at HM Courts & Tribunals Service between 2017 and 2020 and submitted evidence to the Committee last year.
In his evidence to the Committee, he called for a range of measures to support the media and the public gain access to courts and court information as a way of boosting wider confidence in the justice system.
The Committee backed many of his proposals, including a White Paper to define more clearly what open justice for the 21st century means and a network of regional court communication staff to support local journalism.
In its report, "Open justice: court reporting in the digital age", the Committee said:
"Ed Owen, former head of communications at HMCTS, suggested in his evidence that given the dramatic changes brought about by the digital age, the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice should issue a joint White Paper that redefines open justice for the 21st century.
"The Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice should consider producing a White Paper that clarifies and publicises the right of the public to attend court hearings and access information on court proceedings in the digital age.”
Responding to the report, Ed said:
“Open justice is an essential part of our courts system. Yet, too often, the workings of our courts are shrouded in secrecy and opaqueness.
“Improving media and public access to courts and information related to the way it works is vital if we are to maintain wider confidence.”
You can read the full report at https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/31426/documents/176229/default/