On the face of it, news that we may be able to watch Murder Trials on TV sounds exciting. However, when we examine the details we can see that its value is greatly limited. Currently, TV companies can film (and sometimes do) the proceedings of the UK Supreme Court and the Appeal Court. The problem of such filming is that arguments over points of law may interest lawyers and law students, but it is dry and does not interest many members of the public. So, it is rarely filmed.
Under new proposals from the Ministry of Justice, it will become possible to watch parts of murder trials from criminal Crown Courts like the Old Bailey. Though, this latest experiment in filming doesn’t mean we’ll get to see entire criminal trials like those of OJ Simpson and Oscar Pistorius. Indeed, in Crown Court trials the issues of fact are determined by the jury. However, the cameras will not show the jury, or any witnesses, so issues of fact will not be examined on TV.
What TV viewers could get to see and hear is that of judges sentencing murderers, and others, at the conclusion of gripping and notorious cases. In effect, what this means is that we will see a brief clip of a Judge from within the Court at end of the proceeedings. That’s clearly not going to do a great deal of informing law students about the legal processes within Courts. It will be far better to visit the Courts for the day and observe at first hand what happens.