Producers Handbook

Filming the Courts

Under the Criminal Justice Act 1925 filming in English Courts was prohibited. However the UK Supreme Court was not covered by that Act and has been recording and streaming live its cases via its website since it started hearing cases. 

At the end of October 2013 TV cameras were allowed to film for broadcast for the first time in the English Court of Appeal.

Now, live broadcasting can be done from five courts at the Royal Courts of Justice and recoding of proceedings can happen in 13 other courtrooms.

A time delay on broadcast will be used to protect against contempt of court risk and any chance of public disturbances and to ensure that broadcasters can comply with Ofcom and other regulations.

If there is the possibility of there being a retrial following an appeal against conviction the filmed material can only be broadcast after that case has concluded.

As with filming Parliament the footage can be used in news, current affairs and documentary programmes but not in satire, comedy, entertainment programmes or for advertising.


Filming the Scottish Courts

Filming in the Scottish Courts has been allowed subject to permissions and conditions since 1992. The then most senior judge, the Lord President stated that it is in the public interest that the public become more aware of the way in which justice is being administered in their own courts. He thought there is a risk that the showing on television of proceedings in the courts of other countries or in inaccurate dramas will lead to misunderstandings about the way in which Court proceedings are conducted in our own country.However the proposed new Guidelines for filming in the Scottish Courts have not been finalised.