Posted by: John Brace | 17th December 2018

How hard is it for the press to receive court listings from the local Magistrates’ Court?

How hard is it for the press to receive court listings from the local Magistrates’ Court?

                                          

Wirral Magistrates ’ Court offices December 2018

Wirral Magistrates ’ Court offices December 2018

This morning, Leonora and I went to the Wirral Magistrates’ Court offices (the entrance to which is pictured above) to see how easy (or difficult) it would be to receive a copy of the cases listed for this week.

Guidance issued to HMCTS staff in October 2018 states the following:

Courts register and lists

Under a protocol agreed between HMCTS, the Society of Editors and the News Media Association (formerly the Newspaper Society and the Newspaper Publishers’ Association), Magistrates’ Court lists and court registers should be made available to the media on request and without charge. At a minimum, the lists should contain contain each defendant’s name, age, alleged offence and address.

 

So I went to the office this morning introduced myself as a journalist and asked a member of HMCTS staff to be told any requests would have to be made by email.

I wrote an email at 12:01 pm and received two replies.

The first sent at 12:47 pm wanted me to confirm which publication I publish my work with (fair enough), the second sent at 3:11 pm from a manager insists that such details can’t be sent out unless I physically go to the Magistrates Court and show I’m a member of the press (for example with a press card or a letter from an editor).

I do wonder why that couldn’t have been done this morning or is that expecting too much?

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