• July 26, 2017

“Procedures are needed so contempt of court laws can be used against those who disrupt court proceedings with social media, the Chief Justice Susan Denham has said.

Her comments come in the wake of an unprecedented social media campaign during the Jobstown trial, but also reflect a more general concern amongst the judiciary about social media, in particular as it how it can affect jurors.

“To date, it has been rare that courts in Ireland have had to use contempt of court law to curb inaccurate and disruptive online communications about cases,” 
Mrs Justice Denham said at the launch of the 2016 Annual Report of the Courts Service.

“It would be naive of us not to plan for the future in this regard,” she said. “The fundamental right to a fair trial does not change in the face of any new means of communication. Rules can and must reflect the new reality.”

She said she will this week send a draft discussion paper on guidelines on the use of social media in the courts to the presidents of all the courts, and ask the Courts Service to engage with the media and the legal professions on the matter.”

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Image: Chief Justice Denham

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