News In Focus
High Court issues reminder of reporting rules following "breaches"
Journalists have been given a reminder by the High Court not to disclose information taken from a complaint or indictment before a case calls in court.
A notice signed by the Lord Justice General, Lord Gill, states that the court has been reviewing the practice of allowing journalists an opportunity to see complaints and indictments for note-taking purposes before cases call in court, because of "significant concerns" arising from the Data Protection Act 1998 ("DPA") in relation to the disclosure of possibly sensitive personal data in these documents.
The court belives that it is now clear that the information being disclosed is excessive for this purpose, and has plans to move to an electronic portal-based system that will enable the media to access securely information about forthcoming cases and, in time, other information such as reporting restrictions. "This will provide sufficient information for reporting purposes but will ensure that the court will comply with the requirements of the DPA", the notice continues.
It adds: "In the interim the current practice will continue, but on the strict understanding that no information obtained from a complaint or indictment is to be published before a case calls in court. In the light of recent breaches of that understanding, the media are reminded of their responsibilities in the matter."
Click here to view the notice.