It took Channel 4 three years of negotiation before it was allowed to film a murder trial in a Scottish court. But the right decision was reached. Such broadcasts will demystify the judicial process, increase public familiarity with the legal system and counter some of the misconceptions people may have gained from television dramas.
Justice does not just need to be done, it must be seen to be done. In a digital age it makes no sense for geography to restrict public access. Courts have been open to broadcasting in Canada for 20 years with no deleterious effects. At present, all that is televised in England and Wales are the judgments of the Supreme Court. It is time other courts were opened to cameras. This would increase public confidence in our courts, where the power of the state is seen most nakedly at work – and where it should be open to the greatest possible scrutiny.