Long welcomes pilot scheme for filming in courts

Date published: 09 February 2024

Justice Minister, Naomi Long has welcomed a pilot scheme to film the delivery of judgments in the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland.

The pilot was announced today by the Lady Chief Justice, Dame Siobhan Keegan.  The video will not be broadcast but rather will be used to test the process and inform future decisions.

Minister Long said: “I very much welcome this pilot initiative by the Lady Chief Justice, which represents an important step forward in opening up our courts and engendering a better understanding of the legal system here.  I look forward to continuing to engage with her on this pilot scheme, which will help inform further discussion on future possibilities.”

Broadcasting in courts can already happen in England, Scotland and Wales in certain circumstances. Any future decision to introduce this in Northern Ireland would require legislative changes to enable it to become embedded in the court process.

Concluding, the Minister said: “I look forward to seeing the evaluation of the pilot scheme and am open to a discussion on any recommendations that might be brought forward.  Allowing broadcasting in courts would increase transparency and enable the public to view decisions being made by the judiciary in Northern Ireland.  This can only be a good thing.”

Notes to editors: 

1. Broadcasting in courts in Northern Ireland is currently prohibited by two pieces of legislation - the Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 1945 and The Contempt of Court Act 1981. 

2. All media enquiries should be directed to press.office@justice-ni.gov.uk

3. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for Media Enquiries Only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The Duty Press Officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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