We have already commented on the widespread – and not very analytical – coverage of last week’s decision in the OFT v Abbey National case ([2009] UKSC 6).  What of media comment on last week’s other two decisions of the court – BA (Nigeria) v Secretary of State [2009] UKSC 7 and R (A) v LB Croydon [2009] UKSC 8? Well, if the OFT case resulted in a flood of media interest, the other two produced – none at all.

We have been unable to track down any reference to either decision in the mainstream media.  The Croydon decision was welcomed by the Refugee Council, noted by Nearly Legal blog and was the subject of a short case summary in the Solicitor’s Journal.  A reader draws our attention to a short note in the excellent “Free Movement Blog”. Otherwise, silence. The clear and helpful press summaries provided by the Court (here and here) appear to have fallen on on deaf ears. 

Perhaps the media were too exhausted by the excitement over the OFT case to return to the Court in the same week.  More likely, this simply demonstrates the lack of media interest in most decisions of the highest court.  Even the specialist “Law Central” blog in the “Times” did not regard either case of worthy of comment, or even a mention.

It is true that both decisions dealt with relatively “technical” issues affecting asylum seekers.  Nevertheless, in both cases the Supreme Court rejected the submissions of the public authority and upheld the contentions of those seeking to assert their rights against the state.  The rights of children and asylum seekers are newsworthy topics but, even so, it appears that this is not enough to produce any kind of media interest.

Once again, we draw attention to the position in the United States which has “Supreme Court Press Corps” with the major newspapers reporting regularly on the Court and analysing its decisions.  By way of example, we draw attention to the discussion in the Washington Post of a recent Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act, complete with a video clip of the paper’s Supreme Court reporter explaining the importance of the decision.  What this says about the different legal cultures is something we will leave to another day.  But overall, there is, as Joshua Rozenberg has recently commented in a thoughtful piece in the Law Society Gazette, a lack of interest in court reporting.  As he says, this is

not just because of the recession. Editors take the view that their readers no longer need to understand why the courts have reached a particular decision.

Although we do not subscribe the view that bloggers can replace the mainstream media, we do hope that our coverage can assist in filling this gap in information and understanding.