The ban won’t affect members of the press or lawyers

A ban on the use of social media in courtrooms by members of the public while a trial is in session has been introduced by the Chief Justice.

Only members of the press and lawyers will be allowed to publish what’s happening online.

Jurors are always warned to avoid looking up anything about a case, especially on social media channels in case they’re prejudiced in any way.

The courts can’t police everything that’s being published online, but recent high-profile cases have highlighted the need to address the issue.

In an effort to do just that, the Chief Justice Frank Clarke has today announced a ban on members of the public using their electronic devices in court to discuss or report on what they’re seeing and hearing.

In a speech delivered earlier today, he said: “The key legitimate concern of the courts is to ensure the integrity of the trial process and the maintenance of a fair trial system.

"I am acknowledging the great good [social media] can and does bring to many aspects of our lives. But I also have to acknowledge that - like all means of communications it can be used for good and bad."

Journalists and lawyers are exempt from the ban, but could face contempt of court if they don’t follow the rules relating to the coverage of trials.

The new rules take effect from today.