Journalism Law – WEEK 2

  1. Magistrates Court = Nearly all criminal cases (theft, crime etc) and anyone that has committed these crimes will first go to a Magistrates court.

Magistrate Courts deal with 3 kinds of cases:

  • Summary offences – Small, less serious cases
  • Either-way offences – Magistrates can decide that the crime is quite serious and must be handled at a crown court
  • Indictable-only offences – Crimes like murder, manslaughter and rape (remember, almost all cases start in a Magistrates court). If these cases are handled in a magistrates and not a crown court:

The defendant has to enter a plea. If (s)he pleads guilty, the magistrate can put a 6 month sentence on the criminal or give them a fine of up to £5000

If the defendant is innocent, they are free to go.

2. Youth Court = For youths under 18 that have committed criminal offences e.g if Momonosuke committed a crime he’d be in a youth court since he’s below 18.

3. Civil courts = These deal with personal/business conflicts between 2 people/businesses   e.g if a person had an accident at work they might sue their employer for compensation

4. Family court = These are where family cases are dealt with e.g adoption

5. Coroners Court = These do investigations when a person has died to determine the cause of death e.g the Mentalist

6. Crown Court = This is where the more serious court cases take place and they are dealt with by a judge or a jury.

  • Defendants are represented by Barristers (lawyers that work at higher levels of court)



  • No Cameras or weapons can be taken into the court buildings
  • No photos in the court buildings: doing so can result in a 5 year prison sentence
  • You cannot enter the court when the judge is speaking and you must bow your head when you enter the court room
  • No drinking, eating, texting or reading a newspaper
  • Ask for permission before taking notes unless you’re from the press

Anything said in court is covered by the defamation defence Absolute Privilege.  

  • The defence can only be used for a fair, accurate, contemporaneous (something happening at the same time) court report.


  • You can print anything said in court as long as you publish both the prosecution and the defence case and publish it within days of the hearing.


  • You can print that someone has been called a peadophile, murderer or thief if it is said and court and later found not guilty.




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