TV cameras to be allowed into crown courts

updated on 17 January 2020

Media organisations will be able to broadcast crown court judges’ sentencing remarks to the public for the first time under new draft legislation brought forward by the government.

As the Law Gazette reports, TV crews will be able to film and broadcast senior circuit and High Court judges’ sentencing remarks in certain criminal cases, under The Crown Court (Recording and Broadcasting) Order 2020.

Victims, witnesses, jurors and court staff will not appear on camera under the new legislation.

Some Court of Appeal and Supreme Court cases can already be viewed online.

Robert Buckland QC MP, the lord chancellor, said: “This government, alongside the judiciary, is committed to improving public understanding of our justice system and allowing cameras into the Crown court will do just that. It will ensure our courts remain open and transparent and allow people to see justice being delivered to the most serious of offenders.”

However, the policy has been greeted with scepticism by the legal profession, amid fears of a lack of context and that broadcasters will pursue entertainment and ‘drama’ in their decisions about what they show, which could risk undermining judges.