British Supreme Court Approves Tweeting From Court

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The British Supreme Court are fans of Twitter, it seems. The court announced yesterday that journalists, legal teams and members of the public will be allowed to tweet – sorry, I mean create “live text based communications” – from the courtroom in most cases that the court hears, because doing so may be in the greater public interest.

Lord Phillips, president of the Supreme Court, explained the reasoning:

The rapid development of communications technology brings with it both opportunities and challenges for the justice system. An undoubted benefit is that regular updates can be shared with many people outside the court, in real time, which can enhance public interest in the progress of a case and keep those who are interested better informed. We are fortunate that, by the time a case reaches the Supreme Court, there is very seldom any reason for any degree of confidentiality, so that questions about what should and should not be shared with those outside the courtroom do not usually arise. This means that we can offer a green light to tweeting and other forms of communication, as long as this does not disrupt the smooth running of the court.

According to the official announcement, exceptions to the tweet-freely rule include “cases where there are formal reporting restrictions in place, family cases involving the welfare of a child, and cases where publication of proceedings might prejudice a pending jury trial.”

Hopefully, other countries will follow suit in officially endorsing court tweets; I look forward to #lawandorderforreal becoming a permanent trending topic.

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