The UK Supreme Court has just signed up for Twitter, and plans to tweet about the cases it hears in an effort to increase transparency at the upper echelons of the legal system.
The @UKSupremeCourt account has been tweeting for less than 24 hours, and already it has live-tweeted the swearing in of a new judge and amended its Twitter policies thanks to the watchful eye of its community.
The first tweet from the account asked that followers visit the Supreme Court’s Twitter policy page to familiarize themselves with how the Court will approach this new medium.
The short document spells out how often they’ll tweet on average (2-3 times per week), its rules on @replies, and why they will not follow you back if you follow them. A smart move, as they can simply point to their posted rules whenever they receive a complaint or inquiry.
About two hours after tweeting the link to their Twitter policy, they began live tweeting the swearing in of Lord Reed, the newest member of the Supreme Court. They covered the ceremony in six tweets, and directed followers to live video coverage of the event as well.
But perhaps the most impressive thing the Supreme Court has done on Twitter thus far was respond to its community about Freedom of Information requests.
In its initial Twitter policy, the Court stated that,
“Sending messages to our Twitter feed will not be considered as contacting the Supreme Court for any official purpose (including the administration of cases or Freedom of Information requests). If you need to contact the Court for official correspondence, visit our Contact Us page.”
However, an intrepid Twitter user @FOIManUK pointed out in a tweet linking to a blog post that that policy was apparently wrong – and the Supreme Court responded to his concerns in just under an hour:
— UK Supreme Court (@UKSupremeCourt) February 6, 2012