If you’re with the media

Journalists and others working in the media can attend courts that are open to the public.

There is designated seating for the media inside the courtroom.

Can media attend closed courts?

Media (or the public) cannot attend closed courts, which deal with youth matters and sexual assault matters.

Magistrates may also decide to close a court hearing that is already in progress.

What access will be given to exhibits?

There is limited access to exhibits in Criminal and General matters.  Apply to Registrar or Manager if you require access.

There is limited access to exhibits in civil matters. Apply to the Registrar if you would like access.

Coroners can grant or refuse media access to exhibits (and copies of exhibits).

They may give access (subject to conditions in a particular case):

  • subject to the consent of the senior next of kin
  • if it would help prevent the recurrence of circumstances that could cause death or injury

They may not give access (subject to conditions in a particular case):

  • if it’s likely to cause grief or distress, or otherwise intrude unreasonably upon people’s privacy. Examples include photographs of bodies, wrecks or suicide notes
  • in cases of suicide or suspected suicide, except in exceptional cases
  • if the administration of justice is likely to be placed at risk

Any publication of released material should comply with relevant professional standards and media guidelines.

Ask the Coroner’s Office for access.

What can media audio record?

You are permitted to audio record only:

  • Magistrates' findings and reasons for decision
  • Magistrates' comments on passing sentence

Audio recording is for your reference only - not for broadcasting. It should not be supplied to anyone outside your own media organisation.

Only hand-held micro-cassette recorders are allowed to be used.

You must tell the Magistrate's clerk (in a discreet manner) that you will audio record proceedings. In a court with poor acoustic qualities, you may ask the clerk to place your recorder on their desk. You're responsible for starting the 'record' button when you give them your recorder. Repeated approaches to the clerk's desk to check on the recording is not desirable.

The Magistrate may prohibit the audio recording of any court proceedings.

What about other recording equipment?

Cameras (including video recording equipment) and audio recording equipment:

  • may not be brought onto any court premises unless you have the prior approval of either the Chief Magistrate or the Administrator of the Magistrates Court
  • must be used according to any conditions set out in this approval.

Radio receivers, radio transmitters, mobile telephones and pagers:

  • must not be operating in a courtroom unless you have the prior approval of the Magistrate.