Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Jurors, Twitter, and Fair Trials in UK Law

Michael C. Bromby, Department of Law, Glasgow Caledonian University, has published The Temptation to Tweet - Jurors’ Activities Outside the Trial, part of  the Jury Research Symposium 2010, Institute for Advanced Studies, Glasgow. Here is the abstract. 

Despite jury instructions designed to prevent jurors from commenting upon the trial, their deliberations or the process by which they reached a verdict, some have ignored these instructions and face the risk of prosecution under s8 of the Contempt of Court Act 1981. In the past few years following an explosion in the use of blogging, microblogging via mobile technologies (i.e. Twitter) and social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, there have been reports of juror impropriety and this has led to concerns being raised by many, including the Lord Chief Justice.

This paper sets out to review a snap-shot study of Twitter, a widely-used microblogging tool that can be updated easily from a mobile phone and read widely by anyone with an Internet connection, even without being an account holder. The use of twitter, in particular by celebrities, has also become synonymous with updating the world at large on every single thought and movement of the account holder to the point of information overload. This study has limited validity, but aims to review whether jurors do indeed tweet about anything relating to their experience of jury service.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

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