NOTE: This content is old - Published: Sunday, Mar 20th, 2016.
Television cameras are to be allowed into crown courts for the first time, the justice minister has announced.
A ‘not-for-broadcast’ trial will film judges’ sentencing remarks in 8 courts in England and Wales and is expected to begin in a few weeks.
Cameras will be able to film the sentencing remarks of nominated senior judges in the 8 pilot courts however, footage will not be broadcast on TV.
Filming has only been allowed at hearings at the court of appeal and supreme court to date, the move to allow cameras to record in crown court cases could pave the way live coverage of cases in the near future.
Justice Minister Shailesh Vara said:
“My hope is that this will lead to more openness and transparency as to what happens in our courts.
Broadcasting sentencing remarks would allow the public to see and hear the judge’s decision in their own words.”
Lord Chief Justice the Right Honourable the Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd said:
“I am interested to see how this pilot progresses and will work with the Ministry of Justice to assess the impact of cameras in court.”
The pilot will take place in the Central Criminal Court and in the Crown Court at Southwark, Manchester – Crown Square, Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Leeds and Cardiff.
Safeguards will be put in place to make sure victims continue to be supported and the administration of justice is not affected.
The cameras will film only the judge. The filming of all other court users, including staff; victims; witnesses, defendants and advocates will remain prohibited.
The government say they will work with broadcasters to support the pilot at no cost to the public.