Supreme Court Rules: Twitter Allowed in Courtroom

The Supreme Court has shown its love for Twitter today, issuing guidelines that give journalists the green light to use Twitter to report court cases. This announcement deals specifically with cases before the Supreme Court, and is in response to the sometimes controversial use of Twitter in lower courts over the past few months.

The press notice released this morning reasons that court cases in front of the Supreme Court do not involve witnesses or jurors, and there is no reason why the proceedings should not be entered directly into the public record – whether that is through traditional means or by using Twitter.

Lord Phillips, President of the Supreme Court, has this to say about Twitter in the Supreme Court:

“We are fortunate that, by the time a case reaches the Supreme Court there is very seldom any reason for any degree of confidentiality, so that questions about what should and should not be shared with those outside the courtroom do not usually arise. This means that we can offer a green light to tweeting and other forms of communication, as long as this does not disrupt the smooth running of the court.”

This press release makes it clear that cases that reach the Supreme Court have far fewer reasons to be kept from the public, so Twitter is a viable tool that journalists should be able to use in most cases. However, other courts deal with cases that require various degrees of privacy, so Twitter in those court rooms must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.