Chief Justice Frank Clarke and Fine Gael Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan at the launch of Courts Service Annual Report 2017 in Phoenix House, Dublin, on Saturday
In The Sunday Times.
Mark Tighe reported that, on Saturday, the chief justice of Ireland Frank Clarke announced a ban on the use of social media and all electronic communications within courts except in the case of “bona fide” journalists or lawyers.
Clarke said the presidents of the five courts, from the District Court to the Supreme Court, had signed a practice direction meaning the ban would apply to all courts.
He said the new rule was a form of “soft law”. It would not create a criminal offence but judges could order parties to stop using devices, to surrender phones or order them to leave court if they refused to comply.
“In a paper released by Clarke, he appeared to point to the Jobstown case as one of a number of recent trials that showed a need for regulation.
“…Charlie Flanagan, the justice minister, welcomed the rules, saying it was essential to ‘ensure the integrity of the trial process’.
“Journalists considered bona fide would be those who work for a publisher or broadcaster signed up to standards set by the Press Council of Ireland or the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. It also includes members of the National Union of Journalists.”