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Court lists to be provided to newspapers via email

Magistrates’ court staff in England and Wales were yesterday urged to make all court lists available to newspapers via email free of charge.

Justice secretary Jack Straw announced in a Commons statement last year that charging for the lists should be scrapped and that they should be made available to journalists as straightforwardly as possible.

Yesterday all court staff received fresh guidance from Her Majesty’s Court Service stating that wherever possible, copies of court registers and court lists should be provided by email.

The move follows a protocol agreed between HMCS, the Newspaper Society and the Society of Editors.

The guidance states: “The government believes that assisting newspapers to report what is happening in their local courts is important for increasing confidence in the criminal justice system.

“It has therefore been agreed that HMCS will wherever possible, provide copies of court registers and court lists by email.”

The guidance also states that, if unable to provide copies of the court register or lists by email, courts should ask the newspaper to collect a hard copy or pay the cost of postage.