Victorian Supreme Court’s Social Media Activities
For a long time, the court proceedings have been availed to the public through court reporting by journalists. However, this scope of reporting has been limited because of the way the information reaches the wider public. Several countries are opting to widen the scope of reporting court proceedings through the adoption of court reporting in line with the growth and expansion of the information and communication technology landscape.
The same scenario can be witnessed in the decision made by the Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia, to hire a retired judge to oversee the blogging of its judicial proceedings. It is argued that this is a commendable step in embracing open justice for the entire community. The Internet, together with social media, can be used to relay information to the wider public as opposed to the traditional form of journalism. This new platform will offer a chance to the public to access live proceedings, as well as enable them to access other judgments and proceedings on demand.
This is a good move because it will encourage interaction and internalisation of the court proceedings by the public. With this form of reporting, judicial officers will be aware that their work is being viewed and deliberated upon by the wider audience. This encourages a high level of professionalism and the exercise of competence in the delivery of judicial decisions. It will be easier for the court officers to consider public reviews when making future rulings. Therefore, the quality of decisions will improve significantly. This will denote the embrace of justice for both the criminals and the victims.
However, there are a number of concerns about the deployment of social media in court proceedings. There are high chances that criminals can easily take advantage of the social media platform to disrupt the course of justice through hacking and other forms of ills on social media. Another major concern is that there is a high likelihood that a lot of legal actors, both the direct and indirect participants in judicial proceedings, will be engaged in the online platform and air their views on the judicial proceedings.
There is a high chance that the actors may politicise the proceedings when they are directly participating in some of the judicial proceedings. This may result in bad decisions in a number of judicial determinations. Therefore, the use of social media to enhance public participation in court proceedings can be both advantageous and disadvantageous to the ongoing judicial proceedings.