Excellent news, tweeting journalists: if you happen to find yourself in a courtroom in England or Wales with the urge to tweet, you’re free to do so!
Non-journalists, however, will still have to seek permission of the court, and don’t go crazy with the Twitpics either, as photos are still prohibited. Sound recording devices are also not permitted.
Lord Chief Justice Igor Judge (yes that’s really his last name) recently told journalists to “Twitter as much as you like from today” as he delivered new rules for the use of technology in the courtroom by court reporters and the media.
Before these new provisions were handed down, reporters had to ask permission to tweet; the issue came up during last year’s extradition proceedings of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, when reporters scrambled to get the latest news out to the public as it was happening.
The new rules give journalists the benefit of the doubt that tweeting won’t interfere with proceedings in any way.
“It is presumed that a representative of the media or a legal commentator using live, text-based communications from court does not pose a danger of interference to the proper administration of justice,” Lord Judge said.
So what about live-tweeting court proceedings in the United States?
Citizen Media Law Project has a great primer on Live-Blogging and Tweeting from Court, but generally there is no universal policy covering all courts in the land, so you should always be sure of the rules of the jurisdiction and request permission from the judge if necessary.
Fair warning, though: if you’re the lawyer or a participant in the proceedings as a party, witness, jury member, etc., you probably won’t be given permission to live-blog or live-tweet during the process.
Have you ever live-tweeted from a courtroom?