Supreme Court gives courtroom tweeting the green light

The Supreme Court has ruled that tweeting from the courtroom is to be allowed for legal teams and members of the public.

Lord Phillips, the President of the Supreme Court, said that the rise of new communications technology has given challenges for the courts, but that it also brings the benefits of instant updates to the outside world. He said that since most cases that reach the Supreme Court have already gone public by that time, there are little grounds to prohibit tweeting on the basis of confidentiality.

“This means that we can offer a green light to tweeting and other forms of communication, as long as this does not disrupt the smooth running of the court,” he added.

There are some exceptions to this ruling, however, where tighter reporting restrictions apply. For example, cases involving the welfare of a child and cases where publicity of the proceedings may prejudice the outcome of the trial will continue to prohibit tweeting and similar live updates from the courtroom. Such cases will have clearly marked notices on the doors stating the rules.

At the end of December the Lord Chief Justice of the UK made an interim guidance ruling that allowed tweeting in courtrooms, but it only applied to the media and was subject to prior permission being given by the judge in question.