Reporting Restrictions in the Criminal Courts 

On 23 July 2022, the Judicial College produced the latest guidelines for Reporting Restrictions in the Crown Court to provide practical guidance for judges, magistrates, journalists and lawyers. Ellis Cumming reports on the guidelines below.

It is an important principle in our criminal justice system that the court sits in public so that proceedings may be observed by members of the public and reported by the media. However, there are exceptions to this principle in order to protect the rights of children or the identities of some adults. 

The Courts believe that assisting the media to report on cases heard in the local courts is important to increase confidence in the criminal justice system, and to show its commitment to open justice. Given that the majority of the relevant information is not available to the general public it must provide appropriate safeguards and recognise their obligations in relation to publications.  

The courts shall:  

  • Ensure that the court lists which are supplied to the media on request, contain the defendants name, date of birth, alleged offence and address  
  • Ensure that the information is being provided to an accredited journalist or media organisation by requesting to see the individuals UK press card. 
  • Ensure that any email lists/contact details of media organisations are reviewed regularly for accuracy.  

The media shall:  

  • Only request registers and list which assist in their role in reporting court proceedings 
  • Not pass the information contained in court lists to third parties outside the media and its legal advisors for reasons which are unconnected.  
  • Safeguard the information that is passed to them, so far as is appropriate and reasonable 

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