Monday, 15 September 2008

Lib Dems against open justice

Having said that conference took the right decision on Make It Happen, I think it took the wrong decision just before that when it voted overwhelmingly against allowing the broadcasting of court proceedings.

While I appreciate the concerns of some that broadcasting trials and tribunals might result in legal proceedings being seen as entertainment, I think those fears are misplaced. To say that in this day and age that the main means by which people access information is not welcome in our courtooms is an immensely retrograde step.

The motion which was voted down did include safeguards to protect vulnerable witnesses, and to avoid coverage of trials involving sexual matters, children or national security.

Broadcasting of courts would help increase public understanding of our legal system and would open up judges and lawyers to greater scrutiny to ensure that they are doing an effective job.

The arguments used against broadcasting courts were very reminiscent to me of the arguments against televising Parliament. That battle was won 20 years ago, but now we need to do the same for the legal system.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

You do know the Lib Dems have opened themselves up to potential legal action with "Make It Happen"?

Or maybe your conference was sponsored by RBS ;)

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