Television cameras will be allowed into eight crown courts across England and Wales, including London's the Old Bailey and Southwark Crown Court, for the first time under a new pilot plan, Ministry of Justice and the Lord Chief Justice announced today.
Under the not-for-broadcast scheme, the sentencing remarks of various nominated senior judges can be recorded on camera, although other attendees, including victims, witnesses, defendants and lawyers, will not be filmed.
The eight courts taking part in the scheme, which is set to last for three months and will begin as soon as possible after the appropriate legislation can be passed through parliament, are the crown courts at Southwark, Manchester (Crown Square), Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Leeds and Cardiff, and the Central Criminal Court, which is also known as the Old Bailey.
"My hope is that this will lead to more openness and transparency as to what happens in our courts," said Shailesh Vara, justice minister. "Broadcasting sentencing remarks would allow the public to see and hear the judge’s decision in their own words."
The public and press are already free to attend crown courts but filming and recording is prohibited.