This article aims to provide a statement of the law relating to trial and pretrial publicity in England. The discussion is limited to criminal cases because it is in this area that there has been the greatest controversy in the United States—and Nebraska in particular. English courts are not bound by entrenched constitutional principles, and it may appear to the American reader that when the English courts balance conflicting interests of a free press and a fair trial, they are rather arbitrary in their preference for the latter. The rights of the individual defendant are afforded the greatest protection—a premise more often tacitly accepted than explicitly justified. Yet the law is not all one-sided. This account is designed to show where the line is drawn. Few statutory provisions govern the issue of trial and pretrial publicity. These mainly relate to restrictions on the reporting of proceedings in court, are encroachments upon the common law freedom to report everything, and are justified by the need for protection of the individual or by interest in public decency. An examination of what may be published during a trial will be helpful. Then the law relating to pretrial and posttrial publicity, largely still governed by the common law, is discussed in the latter part of the article, along with a discussion of when information relating to a trial becomes sub judice.
Trial and Pretrial Publicity in English Criminal Justice,
56 Neb. L. Rev. 227
Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol56/iss2/2