Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Open Justice or Open Season? Should the media report the names of suspects and defendants?

Bohlander, Michael



The daily news in England and Wales is full of reports about people who have been arrested, arraigned before a court, convicted and sometimes also acquitted, of some heinous crime or other. Most disturbingly, the suspects are named in full with their address and more often than not their photo will also be printed or broadcast. Their private lives and professional reputation are highly likely to be seriously affected the minute the news is made public, regardless of a later acquittal, which may not come until the Supreme Court decides years after the event. This article queries what open justice can be taken to mean in today's media society, whether the media are in it for the sake of enhancing justice or the sake of enhancing sales. The situation in the UK will be set out using the example of the decision of the UK Supreme Court in the Guardian News case and compared with the German press code of conduct.


Bohlander, M. (2010). Open Justice or Open Season? Should the media report the names of suspects and defendants?. Journal of Criminal Law, 74(4), 321-338.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Aug 1, 2010
Deposit Date May 14, 2010
Journal Journal of Criminal Law
Print ISSN 0022-0183
Electronic ISSN 1740-5580
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 74
Issue 4
Pages 321-338
Keywords Open justice, Media, Privacy, Freedom of speech, German press code of conduct.