Televising the Courts: results of consultation

Government's review shows majority oppose cameras in court

The Department of Constitution Affairs today released the results of the consultation process over televising courts in England and Wales.

Announcing the results, The Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, said that there were “powerful” reasons for keeping television cameras out of the courts after the results of a consultation showed a majority of people would oppose moves to install them.

The DCA received 259 responses to a consultation paper, published by last November. A six-week pilot scheme for filming cases in the Court of Appeal ran alongside the consultation and began in the Royal Courts of Justice on 16 November 2004. Among the items that were included in the filming was the most recent appeal in the Douglas v Hello! saga.

Although none of the footage was ever screened, the pilot saw the productions of mock news items and documentaries using courtroom material. It was presented by national broadcasters to Ministers, the senior judiciary and legal professional bodies.

Lord Falconer said:

“The consultation has provided a wide range of considered responses, often heartfelt from individuals and organisations. Their input has confirmed my very strong view that victims, witnesses and jurors should not be filmed. There remain powerful reasons and arguments for protecting them, and the justice process in general, from the impact of cameras and microphones in court. I am not announcing any further conclusions or proposals at this stage.”

Lord Falconer’s announcement did not indicate whether the current outright ban would be continued.