Justice on TV

A recent Guardian article argues that court cases should be televised as allowing TV cameras in court would help ''restore public faith in criminal proceedings.''

The arguments in support of televising cases are:

1. That it would help restore the loss of confidence in politics and the image of judges who are seen as 'out of touch' and 'liberal';

2. Allowing cameras into court would allow victims of crime to see justice being done;

3. It would help ease public suspicion by educating people about what happens in the justice system;

4. Televised hearings fulfils the principle of open justice that justice should not just be done, but should be seen to be done.

However there are many cases and indeed parts of cases were surly cameras would not be appropriate, for example in family courts and cases involving children or where the identity of jurors or witnesses may need to be protected.

Further arguments against televised hearings include:

1. That television will lead to disrespect for the court;

2. Cameras may pervert the trial process by juries and witnesses becoming star-struck and lawyers using the opportunity to grandstand;

3. Victims and witnesses are intimidated an can be less safe as a result (The most compelling argument in my view);

4. The process for witnesses giving evidence is already stressful without the added pressures of being filmed/on camera;

5. The public are already able to attend most hearings freely and UK courts are keen to ensure that the public has as much access to court hearings as is possible.

Allowing cameras into courts is by no means a new argument but in the age of 24-hour news, YouTube and iPlayer is it only a matter of time before justice has its own TV channel?