Tomorrow will see the hearing of Assange v The Swedish Judicial Authority take place at the Supreme Court, one of the most high profile cases to be heard at the Court since its creation in 2009. While the point at issue in the case, whether a public prosecutor is a valid judicial authority for the purposes of the Extradition Act 2003, is considered by some extradition experts to be one that has already been extensively litigated and clarified (see the comments of Julian Knowles QC in The Guardian here), the case has received a huge amount of media attention.

The Supreme Court has made a distinct effort to be media friendly with regard to the hearing. The Supreme Court is already the most open court in the UK in terms of making details of cases, decisions and proceedings available to the public. Hearings can be watched live via a Supreme Court link on the Sky News site, and the Court expects a significant boost in its viewing figures tomorrow. The Court has also issued a guidance note for the press expected to attend the hearing, with priority being given to organisations reporting for the UK, Sweden and Australia, with those reporting for the United States being given the next level of priority. Journalists who cannot be accommodated in the courtroom will be able to watch the proceedings in “media suite” elsewhere in the building.

The Supreme Court is currently the only UK court to televise proceedings, although the Ministry of Justice is considering rolling out televised proceedings to other courts. As Owen Bowcott in The Guardian suggests, the hearing tomorrow willbe a useful test-run for those assessing the impact of televising high-profile court cases on the judicial process and whether, as supporters claim, it boosts public understanding of the law.” However, as the televising of the Leveson inquiry demonstrated, live public discussion of the legal principles involved can all too easily be derailed by animated discussion of the relative attractions of the witnesses and legal representatives.

Meanwhile, the CPS has issued a very useful blog post outlining exactly what will happened after the appeal is decided:

If, after the Supreme Court has heard the case, it dismisses Mr Assange’s appeal, then his only further remedy is to apply immediately to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which will respond within 14 days. If it confirms that it does not agree to take the case then that is an end of the matter. If it is prepared to take the case then it will not only confirm this but also has power to issue a direction to Her Majesty’s Government that he should not be surrendered to Sweden whilst the ECHR considers the claim. He could also apply to the High Court in London for an injunction to prevent his extradition to Sweden by the Serious Organised Crime Agency pending the outcome of his application to Strasbourg.

If the ECHR takes the case then his current bail conditions would remain in force and he would remain in the UK until the proceedings at the ECHR have concluded. The UK Government is the defendant in the matter and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office legal branch represents the interests of Her Majesty’s Government. The Crown Prosecution Service does not appear and nor do any Swedish authorities.

If the ECHR declines to take the case then he will be extradited to Sweden as soon as arrangements can be made.”