Covid-19, the UK’s Coronavirus Bill and emergency ‘remote’ court hearings: what does it mean for open justice? – Judith Townend

24 03 2020

There will be an increasing use of ‘remote hearings’ in the courts in England and Wales in coming weeks and months, under existing law, and if extended provisions in the emergency Coronavirus Bill are passed. But there are important practical questions to consider if we wish to safeguard open justice. Read the rest of this entry »





Why we need a national commitment to open justice data – Judith Townend

13 10 2019

Justice ‘data’ – that is the information that arises from the process and administration of justice – is perhaps one of the most fundamentally important administrative data categories in public life. Read the rest of this entry »





Could Cairncross help public interest law reporting? – Judith Townend

24 02 2019

On the surface, the Government’s launch of a review into the sustainability of journalism was commendable but cynical onlookers were dubious from the outset. Given the fraught history of media policy-making and the large commercial media groups’ impressive lobbying clout, would smaller players be heard and would the review make recommendations that served a genuine public interest in the free flow of ideas and information? Read the rest of this entry »





Reform charity law to allow funding of public interest journalism – Steven Barnett and Judith Townend

4 09 2018

File 20180830 195322 1jsn82v.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1Reactions to Jeremy Corbyn’s alternative MacTaggart lecture were predictably mixed. But amid proposals that attracted both acclaim and opprobrium in equal measure was one that was barely noticed. Read the rest of this entry »





Comment: New approach to media cases at the Royal Courts of Justice a welcome development – Judith Townend

28 02 2018

In 2012 Mr Justice Tugendhat, ahead of his retirement in 2014, made a plea for more media specialist barristers and solicitors to consider a judicial role: “As the recruiting posters put it: Your country needs you.Read the rest of this entry »





Any reform to the law on Official Secrets must provide robust protection for public interest disclosures and open justice – Lorna Woods, Lawrence McNamara and Judith Townend

28 06 2017

With the election now in the past, the wheels of government are beginning to grind again. While most eyes are on Brussels, it is important that the bright lights of Brexit do not draw attention away from other work that is resuming and ongoing. Among it, the Law Commission will continue its project that considers the revision of the laws on Official Secrets, with its final proposals expected later this year. Read the rest of this entry »





Where did all the privacy injunctions go? A response to the Queen’s Bench ‘Media List’ consultation – Judith Townend

31 05 2017

According to the latest official statistics on privacy injunctions in January to December 2016 there were just three proceedings where the High Court considered an application for a new interim privacy injunction. Two were granted, one was refused. Read the rest of this entry »





Media and public to get “viewing terminals” for live-streamed Court proceedings – Judith Townend

8 03 2017

Journalists and members of the public will access “virtual” court proceedings via “viewing terminals” in court buildings if the Government’s new legislative proposals go ahead. Read the rest of this entry »





Trump is right: stories will dry up if the press can’t use anonymous sources – Judith Townend and Richard Danbury

3 03 2017

Donald Trump has declared war on anonymous sources and wants to ban their use by journalists. In a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on February 24, he said: “You will see stories dry up like you have never seen before.The Conversation Read the rest of this entry »





But what does open justice actually mean? – Judith Townend

19 01 2017

clip_image002The notion that justice must be seen to be done needs little introduction to either a lay or legal audience,  but its familiarity belies an underlying complexity. See, for example,  PNM v Times Newspapers, heard by the Supreme Court this week. Read the rest of this entry »