News: Supreme Court of Victoria to have blog by retired judge

In the wake of the High Court’s video debut last week, Chief Justice Warren of the Supreme Court of Victoria delivered the Redmond Barry Lecture earlier this week, and spoke about a concern that justice is not as transparent and open because of the decline of traditional print media and specialist court reporting. Accordingly, she said that the court would engage with the public through a number of alternative media. The Supreme Court already has a Twitter feed, and has started streaming sentencing remarks. It is also looking to stream criminal trials.

Most interestingly, the court plans to have a blog written by a retired judge ‘to create greater community understanding around controversial issues.’ The Chief Justice continued, ‘This will represent a historic shift away from traditional judicial reluctance to explain or defend judicial decisions that are made in accordance with the rule of law.’ Speaking as a former associate to a Supreme Court judge, I know that it was often frustrating to see how cases were reported in the media, and I often wanted to say, No, that’s not what the court held, or to explain why the court held what it did.

I cannot find any other courts which have an official blog run by the court itself. I am excited to see how this innovation will unfold.

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About Katy Barnett

Katy Barnett is a Professor at Melbourne Law School. She has published extensively in the areas of private law and remedies, and is a co-author of ‘Remedies in Australian Private Law’ with Dr Sirko Harder. In 2016 she received the Barbara Falk Award for excellence in teaching.

6 thoughts on “News: Supreme Court of Victoria to have blog by retired judge

  1. The speech is a good read, with some farsighted observations and some notable acknowledgements of criticism of the court. There’s also an express nod to the High Court’s own moves: “Notably, the High Court has commenced streaming of appeal hearings.” (The Chief Justice’s terminology might mislead some, though. The High Court isn’t streaming anything live. At least, not yet. Rather, it is placing the videos on its website days later.)

    The court blog idea is especially intriguing (as well as unprecedented), though it’s not clear to me how it will work. One problem with using retired judges is that, in Victoria, recently retired judges may still sit in cases on an occasional basis. The idea of using non-judges from ‘the ranks of the media and academia’ will sidestep the conflict of interest, but then there will be a problem of editorial control. Still, wouldn’t it be awesome if the High Court did something similar? I’d love to see blog entries from Kirby J and Heydon J.

  2. According to the Guardian, the UK Court of Appeal is going in a different direction on open justice, joining the UK Supreme Court in live-streaming its hearings:

    As this blog post discusses, though, for intermediate appeal hearings at least, such hearings won’t be particularly accessible regardless: Perhaps a court blog will be more accessible.

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