PCC warning: talking to judges may breach code

Journalists have been urged by the Press Complaints Commission not to interview judges about cases in which they are involved.

The PCC has issued a brie?ng note on the subject reminding editors of the legal convention that judges cannot comment outside a courtroom on any case over which they are presiding, or have presided, or discuss any decision they have made.

The note states that judges are equally banned from commenting on the decisions of other judges.

The PCC says the note has not been issued in response to any0particular incident.

A spokesman said: “The commission would like to highlight to editors that, as there are no circumstances in which judges can speak to the press about such matters, approaches to judges, or members of their family, by reporters for comments about a judge’s involvement in a case may lead to a breach of clause 4 of the Editors’ Code of Practice.”

Clause 4 governs harassment and states that journalists “must not persist in telephoning, questioning, pursuing or photographing individuals, having been asked to desist; must not remain on their property after having been asked to leave and must not follow them”.

Brie?ng notes are not binding additions to the code but are intended to clarify and explain the existing rules.

Previous notes have been issued on the naming of lottery winners, reporting of mental health issues and the press treatment of Princes William and Harry.

More information on PCC brie?ng notes is available at www.pcc.org.uk.

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