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Three phases of courts’ publicity: reconfiguring Bentham's open justice in the twenty-first century

  • Jane Johnston (a1)


The paper examines the changing nature of publicity in the courts, tracing three distinct but interconnected phases of publicity using Jeremy Bentham's theory of open justice and publicity as a framework. The first phase is press coverage, with the news media chronicling the justice system for the general population, most recently including televised court proceedings. The second is the appointment of Courts Information Officers, occurring as early as the 1930s and growing in impact since the 1990s, established to facilitate the relationship between courts and the news media. The third and final phase is the Internet, including social media, resulting in changes to news media models and driving contemporary practices of court-generated media. The paper concludes that, while media and communication practices have changed radically since the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and the concept of publicity has shifted, Bentham's approach to open justice remains salient for twenty-first-century courts’ communication.

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Three phases of courts’ publicity: reconfiguring Bentham's open justice in the twenty-first century

  • Jane Johnston (a1)


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