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15 November 2018

Justice Minister Chairs Roundtable On Media Access To Courts

Newspapers, broadcasters, online platforms and the News Media Association will today discuss open justice and access to courts at a roundtable hosted by Justice Minister Lucy Frazer.

The invitation was extended by the Government as part of its ongoing court and tribunal reform programme, which will allow people more efficient access to justice.

The roundtable, to be held at the Ministry of Justice this afternoon (Thursday), seeks to invite views and suggestions on how to maintain and enhance media access as modernisation continues.

Justice Minister Lucy Frazer said: “Open justice is a fundamental part of our legal system and impartial court reporting is crucial in maintaining public confidence.

“As we continue to reform our courts and tribunals, it is important that we work with the media to ensure access is maintained and, where possible, enhanced. This roundtable is an opportunity to do just that and I’m grateful to all those sharing their views with me.”

NMA legal, policy and regulatory affairs director Santha Rasaiah said: “Open justice and court reporting cannot be compromised by court reform. The NMA therefore warmly welcome the minister’s initiative and the opportunity for local, regional and national news media to discuss direct the all important practicalities of maintaining media access and contemporaneous coverage.”

The roundtable will be attended by representatives of a range of large and small news organisations from across England and Wales, including editors and reporters, to help support and promote the principle of open justice.

This is part of ongoing engagement between the Ministry of Justice, HM Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) and the media to protect and enhance court access for journalists. It follows updated media guidance developed by a working group of media, MoJ and HMCTS representatives that was issued to all courts and tribunal staff last month.

This group is now being reshaped to consider how the reform programme can support and enhance media access as part of our wider commitment to open justice.