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Brand New Guide to Help Public Easily Access Court Hearings

People are being encouraged to see how justice is done in courtrooms with the publication of a new and simple ‘how to’ guide for attending court hearings today

Brand New Guide to Help Public Easily Access Court Hearings
Brand New Guide to Help Public Easily Access Court Hearings
  • First ever easy-to-use guide published to help people access court hearings

  • Public encouraged to know their rights to support open justice

  • Follows successful Reporters’ Charter to boost transparency in justice system

Around two million court and tribunals hearings take place every year and for the first time ever, this eight-page document sets out in one place how people can access many of them.   

From murder trials to employment law cases, it explains the different types of courts and tribunals, how to observe a court hearing, which areas of court are open to the public and what to expect once inside the court.  

It also includes details like what to do before a hearing and how to access Wi-Fi in court buildings, and directs people to further resources for more information.  

Justice Minister, Mike Freer, said:  

Open and transparent courts are a key principle of our justice system and it is vital people can see for themselves how justice is done.  This guide is another way we are lifting the curtain for the public to help them easily observe trials, tribunals and hearings.

In a further boost to support the principle of open justice, the document will also help HMCTS staff be well prepared to help members of the public access hearings, and to support those attending for the first time. 

The guide follows a move last year to allow cameras to film some sentencing remarks by judges in Crown Courts to allow more people to see inside the courts as justice is served.  

The Government has previously published the Reporters Charter which outlined the rights and responsibilities of court reporters to boost transparency in the justice system.

Further Information

  • The guide is available to view on GOV.UK  

  • It pulls together information on access already available across GOV.UK into one easy-to-read document for members of the public 

  • While some cases, such as family hearings or those in the youth court may need to be heard in private, the guide shares details of such restrictions and how private hearings can be identified. 

  • Other guidance is available for those attending a court or tribunal to participate in a hearing, as victim or witness, or as a member of a jury.

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