As the slow march towards a new Supreme Court for the UK nears its destination, the Times has a piece about its newly refurbished premises:
The United Kingdom’s new Supreme Court will open its doors for business on October 1, with the first inbuilt facilities in Britain for broadcasting in court. … Broadcasting and internet arrangements are still to be devised but the three courts (two for the Supreme Court, one for the judicial committee of the Privy Council) can be filmed, a first in England and Wales.
As the BBC story on the completion of the refurbishment emphasises, the “decision to televise events from inside the court’s three chambers is a first for England and Wales”. And the Guardian quotes Jenny Rowe, the Court’s Chief Executive as saying that they are “in advanced discussions with broadcasters about the material they will want to use … If broadcasters wish to show it we will make it available”.
I think that it is a splendid idea. As the Canadian blawgs Slaw and the Court point out, since February 2009, the Supreme Court of Canada has provided live streaming of oral arguments and judges’ questions in authorized cases. The whole experiment is working well, and doing the same in the UK is an excellent development. When will the Irish Supreme Court follow suit? Will it ever catch on here? It can only help to promote public confidence in the administration of justice at the highest level. After all, not only would justice be done, it would be seen to be done.