The Society of Editors joined forces with HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) to stage a roundtable discussion on media access to courts in the North East.
The lunchtime networking event was attended by editors and journalists from across the region and was held at The Stadium of Light, home to Sunderland FC. The lunch was co-chaired by Ed Owen, Director of Communications HMCTS, and Ian Murray Executive Director of the Society of Editors.
It was the second in a series of regional meetings organised by the Society following its work in helping to streamline the HMCTS guidelines issued to court staff in relation to providing support and access to court for the media.
The discussion points included assistance from courts in providing court lists and making available evidence shown to the court to enable journalists to provide accurate and timely reports of proceedings.
While it was reported from attending members of the media that the majority of courts and their staff provided a first-class service, there was discussion of how in some areas, particularly in the case of magistrate’s courts where there was less media contact, improvements could be made.
Ian Murray said: “These events are proving to be extremely valuable in helping both sides understand the challenges that both the media and the court service face in ensuring the public are served best. By having open and frank discussions it is much easier to seek solutions to problems faced by both sides.
“The Society is very grateful to have the support of HMCTS in this endeavor. In the end we are all striving toward the same goal, keeping the public informed of what goes on in the courts.
“The next round table discussion will take place in Birmingham on September 12th
Pictured: Right Ian Murray, Executive Director of the Society of Editors with Karon Kelly, court reporter at North news and Keith Leightley, project and strategy manager, North East Change Team