New Judgment: A v British Broadcasting Corporation (Scotland)  UKSC 25
08 Thursday May 2014
On appeal from:  CSIH 43.
The Court considered the correct approach to the exercise of discretion to prohibit the publication of a name or other matter in connection with court proceedings under the Contempt of Court Act 1981, s 11. Held: society depends on the courts to act as guardians of the rule of law, and this in turn necessitates the openness of the courts to public scrutiny. The principle has important consequences for the publishing of reports of court proceedings: open justice is inextricably linked to the freedom of the media to report on court proceedings. Central to the court’s evaluation will be the purpose of the open justice principle, the potential value of the information in advancing that purpose, and any risk of harm that its disclosure may cause to the maintenance of an effective judicial process or to the legitimate interests of others. The purpose of s 11 was to support the exercise of the court’s power to allow a name or other matter to be withheld in court proceedings, by conferring a statutory power to give ancillary directions prohibiting publication of the relevant information. In the instant case, the s 11 order was justifiable under ECHR, art 10, since it was both prescribed by law and necessary in a democratic society in order to protect the integrity of the legal proceedings and A’s art 3 rights.