Twitter allowed in Supreme Court

The Supreme Court will allow email, Twitter, and other text communications during hearings.

Last year, the Lord Chief Justice said journalists could apply to use mobile devices to send updates in courts in England in Wales, as long as the judge hearing the case approved.

Today’s announcement means such “live text-based communications” will also be allowed in the Supreme Court – from the public and legal teams, as well as journalists.

Lord Phillips, president of the Supreme Court, said such updates will help keep the public better informed about the progress of a trial and increase interest in cases.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Unlike the other courts, the Supreme Court guidance approves Twitter and email use by default. While there will be some cases where text updates will have to be limited or banned, attendees will be notified of the change.

The court added that its courtrooms are already fully covered by Wi-Fi. Photography and voice calls remain banned.

The issue of Twitter in court hearings came to the forefront last year during the bail hearings for WikiLeak’s founder Julian Assange. The first judge let journalists post updates, while the appeals judge refused.

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