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Help for reporters and magistrates

New guidelines on reporting restrictions in magistrates’ courts are about to be issued to courts and editors.

They are being sent out by the Society of Editors after the success of a similar document last year covering the crown courts.

The new guidelines have been drawn up for the approval of senior judges by Santha Rasaiah, the Society’s chief legal adviser and head of political, editorial and regulatory affairs at the Newspaper Society, and Society executive director Bob Satchwell.

They will again carry a foreword by Lord Justice Judge reminding magistrates of the importance of open justice.

Bob Satchwell said: “Inappropriate, and sometimes illegal, reporting restrictions introduced by magistrates cause editors huge problems.

“The issue of the guidelines to crown courts has already brought benefits. The new guidelines will hopefully be even more important for editors.”

The guidelines will include a short checklist for magistrates as well as detailed advice for court clerks and will be sent to members shortly.

They will also be available for downloading from the website so that news desks and court reporters can have copies with them all the time.

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