Many cases of public interest are heard in the Land and Environment Court. The Land and Environment Court recognises that the media has a legitimate interest in observing and reporting court cases. Our policies are designed to ensure that cases are fairly and accurately reported. The media, including newspapers, magazines, radio, television and digital media are welcome to observe any cases in the Land and Environment Court unless the case is heard in a closed court.
Media contacts and information
The Supreme Court’s Public Information Officer (PIO) is the principal media spokesperson for the Supreme Court and other superior courts in NSW, including the Land and Environment Court, and can provide the media with information about court proceedings in these courts. The PIO works with the media to ensure that judicial decisions are correctly interpreted and alerts media outlets to any suppression orders issued in proceedings. It is critical that media are aware of and familiar with the terms and impacts of these orders. Failure to acknowledge them in their coverage could compromise proceedings.
If you have any media enquiries, please contact the PIO on:
(02) 9230 8190
(02) 9230 8667
0428 110 682 (Mon-Wed) or 0411 235 740 (Thurs-Fri)
Access to Court files
Media representatives can apply to access court documents and files. Please contact the Supreme Court’s Public Information Officer.
The media must comply with legislation regarding publishing personal identifying information. Information is available on the Land and Environment Court’s Identity theft and anonymisation policy.
Other requests by the media and/or other organisations or individuals for access to the Court’s records and information are dealt with according to the Court's Access to records guidelines.
Access to Court files are dealt with in accordance with the Supreme Court’s Practice Note on Access to Court Information.
Recording of court proceedings
The media may not take photographs, make electronic or digital sound recordings or film within court precincts without special permission. The media may also not publish or broadcast photographs, sound recordings or film taken within the Court precincts without permission.
The Land and Environment Court has adopted the Supreme Court’s policy on recording of court proceedings.
Use of mobile phones or PDAs by journalists
The Land and Environment Court has adopted the Supreme Court’s Policy on the use of mobile phones. According to that policy, journalists are permitted to use mobile phones or personal digital assistants (PDAs) in court for electronic note taking, text messaging or emailing. The mobile phone or PDA must be switched to silent and no verbal communication can be made. The Court must not be disrupted in any way.
Mobile phones or PDAs can be used in court only by journalists who:
- work for recognised media organisations
- can provide appropriate professional identification.
Contempt of court and the media
Media representatives should seek legal advice from their own organisations on what is considered contempt of court. As a broad guideline, the media should not:
- publish information that is likely to prejudice a fair trial
- speak to or have contact with jurors
- report on prior convictions of defendants or accused people
- report alleged confessions by the accused
- make comments as distinct from reports of the Court case before a judgment has been made
- report on prior convictions of people involved in a court case
- interfere with officers of the Court or witnesses.
Contempt of court is a complex legal area and you should consult your own legal representative.