Formal Practice Guidance for Media
Guidance for media on the use of electronic devices in court is set out in Practice Direction No. 1 of 2014, and the accompanying Practice Guidance for the media and general public issued on 6 January 2014, by Chief Justice Anthony Smellie. This practice direction sets out the conditions under which electronic devices may be used by the media for live, text based communications. Taking of photographs and use of sound recording equipment is prohibited unless approved in advance by the Judge.
Use of Live, Text-Based Communication
Media are permitted to use “live, text-based communications” during court proceedings in fulfillment of their objective of producing fair and accurate reports of proceedings. Accordingly, this practice guidance allows the use of “an unobtrusive, hand-held, silent piece of modern equipment for the purpose of simultaneous reporting of proceedings to the outside world as they unfold in court by accredited media representatives….”
Media may proceed within these guidelines without having first to make an application to the court.
However, permission to use such live, text-based communication devices from court may be withdrawn by the court any time if the presiding judge considers that the circumstances so require.
Court Media Register
At present the court does not maintain a formal register of accredited media. However, this Practice Guidance provides for that to be compiled should it be necessary in the future.