TV in courts 'possible'

The attorney-general, Sir Nicholas Lyell, told Bar conference delegates the Government had an “open mind” about televised courtrooms.

Speaking at the international workshop, he said “certainly photographs and possibly television” could be allowed in courts.

“I really don't see why there should not be still photographs, but photographers would then have to remove themselves.

“There is a great deal of force in the argument for television in courts and we should look at this with an open mind.”

Lyell said MPs soon overcame the initial self-consciousness and temptation to act up to camera when television was introduced to Parliament some years ago.

Former adviser to Bill Clinton, Lloyd Cutler, said the US was “way ahead” in the introduction of television to the courts.

But he said that his country lagged behind Britain in the acceptance of transnational legislation.

“We no longer have national economies to look after, just small pieces of the world economy,” he said.

“We therefore need transnational legislation and improved means of solving international disputes. Britain, through its membership of the European Union, has to do what the

European Parliament and the European Court of Human Rights says.

“Britain is well-used to transnational legislation but the US is still in the early stages through Nafta and the US-Canada Free Trade Agreement.”