UPDATE: You can vote to repeal the ban on recording court proceedings here (Thanks to Alistair Kelman in the comments)
Heather Brooke is calling for a campaign to allow recording in UK courts. I agree. In the comments below, let’s talk strategy.
Meanwhile, here’s some of the background from Brooke’s related blog post:
“The simple answer is to allow tape recorders for all: no party is disadvantaged and an ‘official’ recording is there for checking. This is how it works in other countries. But this is to ignore the root objection of the courts: that they are losing control of how court proceedings are presented to the public.”
“You might like to know whether the builder you’re going to give your keys to has any convictions for theft or if the company you’re about to do business with has a report for fraud. Tough. This information is not a click of a button away. Instead you’ll have to know the details of the case before you can call up any records – even though it’s the existence of cases that you’re trying to find in the first place. It’s Catch-22. If you do know the details of the case you’re then forced to undergo a tortuous and tedious process which involves battling a raft of petty officials across a number of court offices all for the simple purpose of accessing information that is supposedly public.”
“There are three main things that would make the courts useful to the general public:
- knowing by name who is using them (the court list);
- why (the particulars of claim);
- the result (the verdict, sentence or settlement).
“Yet trying to get any, let alone all, of these is fraught with difficulty.”
So: strategy. To kick things off, I’ll give you 3 starters:
- the much-mocked Your Freedom website inviting suggestions for laws to get rid of (how seriously is this being taken in government?)
- the Number 10 petitions site (likewise)
- Contact your MP.
Come up with some better ideas than that, and we’re somewhere.
Meanwhile, to spread awareness of this, why not tweet about this with the hashtag #opencourts (UPDATE: Also #courtrecord thanks to @JackofKent)