Lord Chief Justice allows Twitter in court

Court case

The rules on communications devices in court rooms could be overhauled as the head of the England and Wales Judiciary allows tweeting from court as an interim measure.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, has ruled live text communications should be allowed during trials but only if the judge in charge believed it would not interfere with the case.

Live text communications include mobile email, social media including Twitter and internet enabled laptops.

In the ruling, he said: "There is no statutory prohibition on the use of live text-based communications in open court. But before such use is permitted, the court must be satisfied that its use does not pose a danger of interference to the proper administration of justice in the individual case."

"Subject to this consideration, the use of an unobtrusive, hand held, virtually silent piece of modern equipment for the purposes of simultaneous reporting of proceedings to the outside world as they unfold in court is generally unlikely to interfere with the proper administration of justice."

The ruling is only temporary, however, and a consultation about an ongoing code of practice will begin soon. It will involve the Judiciary, the Secretary of State for Justice, the Attorney General, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Bar Council and the Law Society, the Press Complaints Commission and the Society of Editors.

Members of the public who want to put their views across will also be able to contribute via the Judiciary's website.

The move to allow Twitter in court came as a result of the Julian Assange bail hearing held last week, The presiding judge, Howard Riddle, granted reporters permission to tweet updates from the case at the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court as he had no objections.

The Criminal Justice Act 1925 still prohibits the use of photography and sound recording equipment in court rooms.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.