Belfast Telegraph

Law over courtroom artists 'is archaic'

By Brian Farmer

A rule which prevents court artists drawing in courtrooms is "archaic" in the age of Twitter, according to the UK's most senior judge.

Speaking at the first Belfast meeting of the Bar Councils of Northern Ireland and the Republic in more than 90 years, Supreme Court President Lord Neuberger said the rule made "little sense" in the modern age.

The forum for the two Bars was reinstated last year in Dublin – the first meeting since partition.

Lord Neuberger (66) said he began his legal career in an age before court proceedings could be televised.

He said: "All we had was court artists who had to draw outside court based on their notes made in court, as drawing in court was strictly forbidden," he told the conference at the Royal Courts of Justice. Indeed, that rather archaic rule may still be in place, although it makes little sense in an age when people may tweet and text from court."

The ban on drawing in courtrooms is contained in the 1925 Criminal Justice Act. It means artists are only allowed to make notes during hearings and have to draw outside the court.

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