Courts service will use comms to uphold principles of open justice, says MoJ

Comms is playing a central role in making Britain's court system more transparent and upholding the principle of justice being seen to be done, according to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

The courts service will use comms to uphold principles of open justice, says the MoJ
The courts service will use comms to uphold principles of open justice, says the MoJ
It hit back at allegations, reported by the Law Society Gazette, that Britain’s court system is shrouded in secrecy and needs to be more open.

The MoJ’s comms team is working to raise awareness of new moves to use digital technology to make the court system more transparent than it is at present, the government department told PRWeek.

Responding to criticisms levelled at British courts, Susan Acland-Hood, chief executive, HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS), said: "We have a world-leading legal system and we are committed to upholding and strengthening the principle of open justice."

She added: "We are investing over £1billion to reform and modernise our courts. Our increasing use of digital channels will allow us to deliver swifter and more certain justice for victims and help make sure the public and the press have access to case listings, outcomes and proceedings - both in court buildings and online."

Concerns over the difficulties in getting information on court cases prompted a recent meeting between the Society of Editors and HMCTS officials, to discuss journalists’ access to information and matters of open justice.

An HMCTS spokesperson said: "As we increase the use of digital channels we will make sure that interested parties, including victims, witnesses, the public and the press have access to case listings, outcomes and proceedings where appropriate."

In terms of the overall comms strategy, particularly regarding the approach taken to address negative perceptions of Britain’s judicial system, a MoJ spokesperson told PRWeek: "We have an ambitious programme of court reforms which are addressing open justice issues which have been well publicised by the communications team at the Ministry of Justice over recent months - through the media, but also to stakeholders and using our digital channels."

They added: "There is more to do, including the introduction of the Prisons and Courts Bill later this week, which we are widely publicising, including online."

The forthcoming Bill, set out in the Queen’s Speech last June, aims to make the court system "fit for purpose in the 21st century," according to a briefing issued by Downing Street.

The purpose is to "reform our courts and tribunals to ensure delivery of faster and fairer justice for users by making better use of technology and modernising working practices."


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