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Report No. 198

United Kingdom:

In the United Kingdom the principle of 'open justice' has been accepted decades ago but it was also accepted that it is not absolute. This was laid down in Scott v. Scott: 1913 AC 417 by Viscount Haldane L.C and the scope of the exception was laid down as follows:

"The exception must be based upon the operation of some other overriding principle which defines the field of exception and does not leave its limits to the individual discretion of the Judge."

The Crown Court rules (Rule 27), section 8(4) of the Official Secrets Act 1920, section 47(2) of the Children and Young Persons Act, 1933, section 4(2) and 11 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1981 refer to certain statutory exceptions to the rule of open justice. English Courts have also developed the 'inherent power' doctrine in the Leveller Magazine case (1979 A.C. 44) and in R v. Murphy (1989): (see para 6.2.3. and 6.2.10 of the Consultation Paper).

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