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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cameras in Courtrooms in England and Wales are allowed

As a matter of public policy, trials are open to spectators.  In view of the principles of transparency in the criminal justice system, the public which is represented by the mass media can be present during trials as spectators.

In general, use of cameras during trial to record what is happening in the courtroom is forbidden.  In fact, almost all federal trial courts forbid cameras. During the trial of Oklahoma City Federal Building bomber Timothy McVeigh the news cameras were barred.  Access through a closed-circuit system was granted only to the relatives of the bombing after a special law was passed by Congress.  Recently, however, a number of courts have allowed to a certain extend media coverage of trials.  These are however subject to strict rules which must be observed by the mass media.

England and Wales is among the few countries in the world that does not allow use of camera inside courtroom.  Surprisingly, recently, in a news article entitled England, Wales to allow cameras in court for the first time a law was passed in England and Wales allowing for the first time the use of television cameras in courts where judges can be filmed delivering summaries.  It should be stressed that victims, witnesses, defendants or juries will not be filmed.  

The new law was passed to improve the public’s understanding of the criminal justice system and to improve transparency in the administration of justice.

Technology as aid in the criminal justice system is now being increasingly used in court.  While are benefits the increasing use of technology also presents challenges in the administration of criminal justice system.  For more information about the use of technology and challenges in the administration of criminal justice system visit our website at

Image: Salvatore Vuono /

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