Centre for Law, Justice & Journalism

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  1. Open Justice in the Digital Era
    1. Justice Wide Open

Open Justice in the Digital Era

The Centre of Law, Justice and Journalism's open justice initiative aims to make recommendations for the way judicial information and legal data are communicated in a digital era.





The UK Supreme Court leads the way in dissemination of information via the internet and television, but other courts in England and Wales have yet to catch up. Publication of legal information has grown up in a piecemeal fashion in the digital era - part privatized, with few central guidelines. The so-called 'super injunction' furore was partly fuelled by a lack of public data, something the Master of the Rolls is now seeking to remedy.

Our Open Justice in the Digital Era project launched with the Justice Wide Open conference on 29 February 2012, at which practitioners and academics debated the future of legal knowledge in the 21st century. Speakers, including Geoffrey Robertson QC, Hugh Tomlinson QC, Heather Brooke and Professor Ian Cram, explored the history of the flow of legal knowledge, the realities of modern court reporting, and open justice in an academic context.      

Delegates from the fields of law, journalism and academia discussed how judicial information and courts data could be made more easily accessible to journalists, lawyers and researchers and the general public, and considered the legal and ethical implications of an increasingly open and digitised approach.

A set of papers from the event was published in June 2012. We are currently discussing ways in which access to English courts and law can be improved, to assist research and journalism in this area.

Image, top: © paulclarke.com

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The project director is Judith Townend. To find out more please email: judith.townend.1@city.ac.uk. Updates on the project's progress will be announced on this page and on the CLJJ blog.

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Conference: Justice Wide Open, 29 February 2012

Reports and commentary 

  • Round up on the CLJJ blog
  • Press 'must do better to protect open justice', PA Media Lawyer, 15.03.12
  • Digital age poses challenge for jury trials, PA Media Lawyer, 15.03.12

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  • Audio: Session 1, with Hugh Tomlinson QC, David Goldberg, information rights academic and activist; and Emily Allbon, City Law School librarian [slides] (chair: Professor Howard Tumber).
  • Audio: Session 2, with Heather Brooke, journalist and author; Mike Dodd, editor of PA Media Lawyer; Adam Wagner, barrister; William Perrin, founder of Talk About Local [slides] (chair: Judith Townend).
  • Audio: Session 3. An academic perspective, with Professor Ian Cram, Professor of Comparative Constitutional Law, University of Leeds [slides] and Dr Lawrence McNamara, Reader in Law and ESRC/AHRC Research Fellow, University of Reading (chair: Professor Ian Loveland).

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The open justice principle

A Great Tradition of Open Justice, Geoffrey Robertson QC

Open Justice Unbound? Lord Neuberger

Justice in a Cold Climate, Dr David Goldberg

The flow of legal knowledge

Towards Legal Transparency, Hugh Tomlinson QC

The Free Legal Info Landscape, Emily Allbon

Accessible Law, Nick Holmes

Catching Up with the Transparency Revolution, David Banisar

Court reporting and the media

Secret Justice, Heather Brooke

Open and Shut Justice, Mike Dodd

A Corrective to Bad Journalism, Adam Wagner

Court in the Net, William Perrin

Open justice: an academic perspective

Twitt(er)ing Open Justice? Professor Ian Cram

Judicial Perspectives on Open Justice and Security, Dr Lawrence McNamara

'Secrecy' in the Court of Protection, Lucy Series

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