Insights Transparency and Open Justice Board announced by Lady Chief Justice

The Lady Chief Justice, Baroness Carr, has announced the creation of a new ‘Transparency and Open Justice Board’ to be chaired by Mr Justice Nicklin.

Making the announcement as part of her keynote speech at the Society of Editors’ 25th anniversary conference, the Lady Chief Justice explained that the Board’s aim is to “examine and modernise our approach to open justice, not least to ensure that we take proper account of wider societal changes as well as those being effected by the courts. It will set objectives for all Courts and Tribunals, focussing on timely and effective access in terms of listing, documents and public hearings. It will engage with the public and interested parties to make sure that these objectives properly reflect what should be delivered by a modern justice system.”

The Board will pay particular attention to what can be done to increase public and media access, including the possibility of a “careful expansion” of broadcasting hearings, increasing facilities for remote attendance of hearings by journalists, and working with journalists so that they can play their part in holding judges to account and increasing transparency (for example by challenging reporting restrictions). The Lady Chief Justice also referred in her speech to the recent consultation by the Civil Procedure Rule Committee on expanding the types of documents that can be obtained without permission of the court, which we have commented upon previously here.

The terms of reference for the Board state that the Board and a yet-to-be-established ‘Stakeholder Committee’ will engage with interested parties to establish ‘Key Objectives’ which will be promoted across Courts and Tribunals in England and Wales.

The speech from the Lady Chief Justice can be read in full here, which also includes a link to the Board’s Terms of Reference.