Live Court Coverage Request Rejected

Here’s the background on the Judge’s decision in yesterday’s court case to reject our request to cover it live

VentnorBlog was at the High Court yesterday to cover a Leave Hearing for a Judicial Review between an Isle of Wight resident and the Isle of Wight council.

Live of Meeting TonightWe made an application, via the Judicial Press Office, the day before, to cover the court case live from the court room, as we understood that recent changes to court protocol had allowed this. They in-turn forwarded it to the Judge.

Immediate response – No
During the opening of the court hearing, Judge Pearl raised the subject and announced that his immediate response was “No”.

He felt that as recording or photos weren’t allowed, the same reasoning should be applied to live Tweeting. The details were “contemporaneous” in his view.

He then asked both the Applicant and Defence teams what their views were.

Legal teams asked
The legal team on the Applicant decided not to pursue it (possibly out of a desire not to irritate the Judge – some what understandable).

The Defence barrister said he agreed with the reasoning of the Judge and the Applicant team, not adding anything more.

One quote I wrote down was that details might “come out in a misleading way.”

“Only short”
The Judge said that, as the court case was “only short” (projected to take only 1.5 hours, it took over three and a half hours in the end), live coverage wasn’t needed, so it “could be reported after.”

I asked the Judge if it would be OK to send a quick update, alerting VB readers that I wouldn’t be able to cover it live, to which he said no.

While I left the court to do the update, I later heard that a reporter for the Press Association, John Aston, addressed the court, pointing out to the Judge that the Julian Assange extradition hearings case had allowed live tweeting. I was told that this was news to Judge Pearl.

Lord Chief Justice Interim guidance
Back at the end of last year, Lord Judge, The Lord Chief Justice addressed this very subject through an Interim practice guidance, as reported in a number of places, including on the 20th December.

The Interim practice guidance says

10. There is no statutory prohibition on the use of live text-based communications in open court. But before such use is permitted, the court must be satisfied that its use does not pose a danger of interference to the proper administration of justice in the individual case.

11. Subject to this consideration, the use of an unobtrusive, hand held, virtually silent piece of modern equipment for the purposes of simultaneous reporting of proceedings to the outside world as they unfold in court is generally unlikely to interfere with the proper administration of justice.

At the end of point 13 he says, “The most obvious purpose of permitting the use of live, text-based communications would be to enable the media to produce fair and accurate reports of the proceedings.”

How can we alert Judges?
We’re very aware that Judges have a lot to keep on top of on a daily basis, so wonder if there’s a simple way for them to be made aware of the current thinking on live court coverage?

Wednesday, 27th July, 2011 4:04pm



Filed under: Budget Cuts, Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Law & Order

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14 Comments on "Live Court Coverage Request Rejected"

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I do not agree with the judge in this case.It was a hearing,nothing else and was in the public interest to follow the proceedings.

This is the sort or judge we could do without-very old school!


How can we alter judges? That is a very good question. I would say send them out into the real world to get experience of normal people and modern technology,especially in relation to communcations devices!

However,it sounds like the likes of Judge Pearl are beyond changing!Sounds like a very inflexible old codger!

it is also unfortunate that by being a judge from the older generation does not, like some of that age appreciate the advancement and need of technology, which is why he couldnt care less or have any understanding that villages need their library for internet access , it didnt bother him at all that libraries could close now or in the future, and that a mobile library… Read more »

This sounds very true.The law is unfair as life.


Rosie, the judge failed to empathise with the petitioner. Any number of factors may have contributed to this outcome. His age is the least likely to be one of them. You may want to reflect on your own ageist prejudice.

daft old duffer

The fact that judges and barristers prance around with lumps of carpet on their heads,believing it adds to their dignity, says all that needs saying

Janet Scott

I find Simon Perry to be a very honest and caring Journalist, therefore after reading his report I really do wonder what planet the Judge was on.

I fear he was biased and didn’t want to open a can of worms!

steve s

I bet he didn’t know who Gazza was! ;-)


he didnt know who tim coates was, and had to ask the barrister , sums it up really, not a book person..


The judge sounds the type of person who does not know who anyones is,unless he is from his London Club, or was at his Public School! Oh,yes and big wiggs(pun intended!) in the Conservative Club!

In other words,he is on a totally different planet from most of those appearing before him.


Yes,we cannot criticise a High Court Judge-after all they are more than human and never make errors of judgement!


Derek Bentley would not agree with that statement!In 1998 he was given a full pardon.Not that it was much use to him by that time.This judge is probably a descendant.


Presumably the Clerk to The Court can only offer guidance to M’lud when such is requested.

Judge Pearl seems to be a very independent judge and seemingly keeps himself uncontaminated by wordly knowledge.

Reminds one of the question from a Judge- what is ‘rock band’?
A popular music beat combo M’lud.

‘I am much obliged to m’learned friend’ came the reply.