Journalists can apply to record and broadcasting certain hearings in Scotland’s Supreme Courts, and register to use live communications such as Twitter from all courts, under a new protocol from the Scottish judiciary launched today. 

The protocol supports the principle that broadcasting court proceedings is in the interests of open justice and provides educational information.

It sets out rules for recording and broadcasting sentencing hearings, civil and criminal appeals, and legal debates in civil first instance proceedings. Criminal jury trials, and proofs or civi jury trials in the Court of Session, may be recorded only for the purpose of making documentary productions.

Use of live text-based communications is restricted to journalists, who if they are registered with Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service do not need prior permission from the presiding or chairing judge, but who must otherwise apply to that judge, through Judicial Communications, for permission in the individual case.

The protocol details the criteria for the applications, which must be submitted "well in advance" of any hearing sought to be covered, and the conditions that apply to each form of hearing.

A broadcast working group will review each application, taking into account the views of the presiding or chairing judge, before making a recommendation to the Lord President, Lord Carloway, who will make a final decision.

Click here to access the protocol and related application forms.