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  • Print publication year: 2021
  • Online publication date: May 2021

11 - Judges and the Media

from Part IV - Perceptions

Summary

The relationship between judges and the media has changed. While the hearings and decisions of courts have long been the subject of intense media scrutiny, there was a time when this focus was not usually directed to judges in a personal sense. Judges did not engage with the media in a direct sense. Judges were also discouraged from direct or close contact with the media by many legal principles and professional conventions. The media now treats judges differently, often commenting as much about judges as the cases they decide. Much of the media commentary about judges and their decisions is unfair and inaccurate. As the media has grown more willing to criticise judges and their work, attorneys-general and other politicians have become more reluctant to speak on behalf of judges and the courts. These changes have seen the decline of many of the professional norms that discourage judges from responding to the media but the extent to which judges can or should respond to, or deal with, the media are hampered by the unique nature of the judicial function.