UK Supreme Court Credit: Rev Stan
Sky News today launched Supreme Court Live online, an new online portal offering live video coverage of the Supreme Court, as part of its ongoing campaign to gain TV access to all courts.

Announcing the launch today on its blog, the broadcaster called the broadcasts a "significant event" with the Supreme Court just one a select few in the UK which allow cameras and the only one which permits live coverage.

The court has previously filmed its cases and made the footage available to broadcasters, but confirmed this is the first time a broadcaster is to offer continuous live coverage rather than snippets for a news bulletin.

Sky News says it has previously proposed to Justice Secretary Ken Clarke, along with other broadcasters, that the sentencing remarks of judges in criminal cases, and their judgements in civil cases, should be televised, as a starting point.

"These modest proposals, which would be an initial step in opening up the courts to public view, won the support last week of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, no less – as I blogged here last week," Sky News associate editor Simon Bucks reported today.

"The hearings in the Supreme Court may not have quite the drama of Silk or Judge Judy but the decisions made by its Justices on important points of law can be critical," he added.

"The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal for all UK civil cases and for all criminal cases except those from Scotland. It replaced the Law Lords in 2009 and is proud of its independence, distinct and separate from parliament and the government.

"This may explain why the Supreme Court Justices decided to allow cameras, when the lower courts continue to bar them. A few minutes watching the proceedings will dispel one of the arguments used by those who oppose televising all courts: that judges and lawyers will "act up" to the camera. They don't. By making the Supreme Court hearings freely available, we hope to show that televising proceedings does not jeopardise the process of justice."

Speaking to today Bucks said it was "high time" hearings at the Supreme Court were live streamed.

"I'm proud Sky News was the first broadcaster to do it. The reason it's taken a bit of time is because there's a certain amount of technology which needed to be sorted out and that's something we've now done and it means anybody who wants to see what's happening in the Supreme Court can just go to our website and see it streamed live, uninterrupted whenever the court is sitting."

Picture by Rev Stan on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

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