District Court New South Wales

Information for Media

The media must comply with legislation about the publication of court proceedings.

In NSW, court and tribunal hearings are generally open to the media, including newspapers, magazines, radio, television and digital media.

However, the media may not take photographs, make electronic or digital sound recordings or film within court or tribunal precincts without special permission. The media may also not publish or broadcast photographs, sound recordings or film taken within the court or tribunal precincts without permission.

Use of mobile phones or other devices by journalists

Journalists are permitted to use mobile phones and other devices including  personal digital assistants (PDAs) in court for electronic note taking, text messaging or emailing.

Mobiles and other devices must be switched to silent and no verbal communication can be made. The court must not be disrupted in any way.

Mobile phones and other devices can be used in court only by journalists who:

  • work for recognised media organisations
  • can provide appropriate professional identification.

Closed court in sensitive proceedings

In some sensitive cases, media representatives may be excluded from court proceedings. This is known as a closed court. It is up to the judge or magistrate to decide whether to close the court.

The judge can also make an order preventing the media from telling anyone about all or any part of the evidence.

The media may not identify children involved in any court hearing. Children are defined as people under the age of 18 years old. In NSW the media may also not identify people who were children at the time an offence was committed. This law also applies to missing and deceased children.

Access to court files

Media representatives can apply to access court documents and files. Please contact the relevant court or media contact for each jurisdiction.

The media must comply with legislation regarding publishing personal identifying information.

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.

Community Justice Centres

Community Justice Centre mediations are confidential and not open to the media.

Media contacts

Email: mediadistrictcourt@justice.nsw.gov.au
Phone: 0475 822 661

Media releases

Find the latest media releases of the Department of Communities and Justice.

Media resources

For more information, see media resources

Last updated:

08 May 2023

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