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Tuesday, 9 November 2010

WebCourt

With the Government in caretaker mode, all media announcements are now published on political party websites, rather than the government media site.



An interesting one released today by the ALP is a plan to webcast court cases!



This report in The Age has a snippet from morning radio where Mr Brumby says he hasn't yet spoken to the judiciary about this proposal.



I suspect it might take some fine-tuning before it becomes a reality.



In June I discussed contempt of court made out by filming or photographing inside a court room, albeit without the court's permission. (Presumably, webcasting would only occur with the approval of the presiding judicial officer.) Similarly, publication of a court case can in some instances be a contempt — specifically sub judice (Latin for ‘before a judge’), which is a particular form or sub-category of contempt. But, the publication must usually have ‘a real and definite tendency to prejudice or embarrass pending proceedings’: Hinch v Attorney-General (Vic) (1987) 164 CLR 15 at 34. Publication is generally permitted, unless statutory provisions provide otherwise, such as Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 s 534 or, particularly, Judicial Proceedings Reports Act 1958 s 3.



That last provision would result in pretty careful scrutiny by judicial officers of what happens in the courtroom, and what things should or shouldn't be streamed. At least on a practical level, I imagine they might not welcome one more thing to concentrate on when managing their courtrooms.

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