Australian State Supreme Court and social media

October 25th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Australian Supreme Court is joining Facebook and launching a website with live videos and retired judges’ blogs in a bid to preserve the concepts of open justice and a fair trial in the digital age.

Chief Justice Marilyn Warren said on Monday that the concept that justice must be done and seen to be done was a “fundamental tenet of Australian democracy.” …

Judges could not engage in public discussion about their decisions or controversial legal issues to maintain their independence and impartiality. But the court’s website could feature blogs from retired judges “to create greater community understanding around controversial issues.

“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,” Chief Justice Warren said.

I really like the idea of having retired judges blog on legal issues. It is a great way to improve understanding of our legal system. The Ministry of Justice and in NZ should look at doing it here.

“Communication judges” – Justices Simon Whelan, Anne Ferguson and Jack Forrest – and the court’s communications manager, Anne Stanford, would soon meet to discuss the current website, which was “clumsy, difficult and sometimes impossible to navigate. It is contemplated that other than the judges, no-one over 30 will be allowed to participate in the meeting.”

New media forums, including on tablets and smart phones, allowed the public to access a more views about court decisions online. But it was important for the court to directly engage with the public, as newspaper circulations declined and courts faced greater scrunity than ever before, with decisions “constantly reviewed, questioned and critiqued.” …

The Supreme Court already streamed judges’ sentencing remarks in criminal trials in a bid to “fill the void left by” fewer court reporters: “When web-streaming is used the community can check for themselves what transpires in the Supreme Court and see and what the judiciary actually do when they administer the law.”

I’d love to see that here also – streaming of all sentencing decisions, along with all decisions available online.

UPDATE: Note it is a state supreme court, not the Australian High Court.

8 Responses to “Australian State Supreme Court and social media”

  1. Uncompetency (14 comments) says:

    Poor reporting. This is the Supreme Court of Victoria, not the Australian Supreme Court (which incidentally does not exist; the Supreme Court in each state is the court of first instance; the highest court in Australia is the High Court of Australia).

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  2. Chuck Bird (6,569 comments) says:

    Does anyone know if there is a way to get rid of useless incompetent judges in Oz?

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  3. kowtow (13,193 comments) says:

    Not so sure.

    Where’s the majesty of the law in all this? Dragged down to teen giggly goggle.

    Trial by twitter next.

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  4. Nostradamus (5,209 comments) says:


    You are, of course, quite correct.

    Something else that caught my eye is that the Stuff story (at the bottom) appears to attribute the original article as being from the Sydney Morning Herald. How did the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald miss the reference to the non-existent “Australian Supreme Court”?

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  5. Redbaiter (11,656 comments) says:

    “How did the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald miss the reference to the non-existent “Australian Supreme Court”?”

    Fairfax- incompetent losers bleeding badly and soon to depart this earth.

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  6. peterwn (4,281 comments) says:

    There are discrepancies between the use of ‘High Court’ and ‘Supreme Court’. NZ and UK use is similar except UK has ‘Crown Courts’ which AFAIK tend to be similar to the ‘High Courts’ in London. The NZ High Court used to be the ‘Supreme Court’ and that and the use in Australian states probably recognised that they were ‘Supreme’ but for the Privy Council – the states were independent colonies then – until ‘federation’ occurred in 1901. Appeal Courts would have been an adjunct of the Supreme Court, with senior Supreme Court judges being brought in as necessary. In NZ, all High, Appeal and Supreme Court judges are classed as ‘High Court Judges’, even if like Justice Arnold they never sat in the High Court.

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  7. itstricky (3,951 comments) says:

    Trial by twitter next

    What, you mean like the SST?

    Something like this here would be a good catharsis for the woeful, damaging SST. Maybe they’d even slip off the map forever. Here’s hoping.

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  8. Kea (15,179 comments) says:

    Where’s the majesty of the law

    It is in your imagination.

    Most law is made by politicians. Do you consider them “majestic” ?

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