Law, Justice and Journalism

Posts Tagged ‘geoffrey robertson qc’

New working papers launched: ‘Justice Wide Open’

In Announcements, Events, Journalism, Law, Publications on June 20, 2012 at 2:27 pm

New publication calls for an increasingly open and digitised approach to open justice

The real “democratic deficit” in the courts is about limited public access not “unelected judges“, Adam Wagner, a barrister at One Crown Office Row, argued on the UK Human Rights Blog at the weekend, challenging a recent political and media narrative.

In his view, the internet age necessitates “a completely new understanding of the old adage ‘Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done‘”.

Wagner is one of 14 authors who contributed to a new working publication entitled ‘Justice Wide Open’, produced by the Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism (CLJJ), City University London, following an event on February 29 2012. The individual chapters can be accessed electronically.

The new collection of working papers is part of a wider project encouraging ‘Open Justice in the Digital Era‘. The issues are extensive and diverse: the recommendations of the government’s ‘secret justice’ green paper, now the Justice & Security bill, which would see more cases behind closed doors; the decline in local and national court reporting as a result of cuts in journalism; the courts’ barriers to entry due to ill-informed staff; and the difficulties in obtaining free legal information.

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Geoffrey Robertson QC: Press ‘must do better to protect open justice’

In Events, Journalism, Justice, Law on March 21, 2012 at 1:47 pm

By PA Media Lawyer

The press needs to lift its game if the principle of open justice is to be maintained, a senior QC has warned.

Part of the rationale for open justice was that it meant that judges were themselves under trial while conducting cases, because of media and public scrutiny, and that the public was educated by reports of what was happening in the courts, said media law and human rights specialist Geoffrey Robertson.

“There has been very little informed criticism of the judicial performance of our judges,” he told a conference entitled Justice Wide Open, at City University London, on February 29.

“The media, it seems to me, are third rate, compared to the American media, where appointments to the Supreme Court are covered critically by a lot of experts and a lot of legal journalists,” he said.

“Here the level of coverage of the courts – and certainly critical coverage – is very poor. The number of journalists in courts has been cut.”

But little encouragement was given to critical journalism, Mr Robertson said.

Read the full article at PA Media Lawyer here (subscription required). Papers from the conference will be published later this spring, in a Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism publication. See the project page for more details.

Justice Wide Open: courts and legal information in the digital age

In City University London, Events, Journalism, Justice, Law on March 2, 2012 at 4:42 pm

On Wednesday 29 February 2012, academics, lawyers and journalists gathered to discuss open justice in the digital age at City University London.

The programme included context and history, issues for the media and an academic perspective. Speakers included: Geoffrey Robertson QC; Hugh Tomlinson QC; Heather Brooke, journalist and author; Mike Dodd, editor of PA Media Lawyer; and Professor Ian Cram, Professor of Comparative Constitutional Law, University of Leeds.

Later in the spring the Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism will be releasing a set of papers from the event and also work on practical recommendations to take forward. Please contact if you would like to be involved or have suggestions.

In the meantime, here are some links to reports elsewhere, tweets, photos and audio.

Audio recordings & slides

  • Session one, with Hugh Tomlinson QC, David Goldberg, information rights academic and activist; and Emily Allbon, City Law School librarian [slides] (chair: Professor Howard Tumber).
  • Session 2, with Heather Brooke, journalist and author; Mike Dodd, editor of PA Media Lawyer; Adam Wagner, barrister; William Perrin, founder of Talk About Local [slides] (chair: Judith Townend).
  • Session 3. An academic perspective, with Professor Ian Cram, Professor of Comparative Constitutional Law, University of Leeds [slides] and Dr Lawrence McNamara, Reader in Law and ESRC/AHRC Research Fellow, University of Reading (chair: Professor Ian Loveland).