Media guide

Everything media outlets need to know when reporting about the Court.

Journalists play an important role in helping the public understand our work. Open justice is a fundamental principle of a fair trial. This page has been designed to help members of the media report fairly and accurately.

All media enquiries (including submitting a Media Request Form, interview requests and feedback) should be emailed to the Media and Communications Team: media@countycourt.vic.gov.au.

Guidelines

All journalists are required to follow the Media Guidelines, which were written to:

  • promote transparency and the principle of open justice
  • facilitate fair and accurate reporting of matters before the Court
  • enhance community understanding of our work.

The guidelines contains our media policy, which includes the circumstances in which journalists can use electronic equipment in court, and information about access to files and documents and provisions of sentences and judgments.

Accreditation

Accreditation with the Court can be applied for using the Media Accreditation Form. County Court accredited journalists are granted special access, resources and communications including:

  • access to the Media Portal (a secure website containing audio recordings of recent sentences)
  • access to an enhanced Daily List which includes criminal charges for each matter
  • invitations to training and networking events for media
  • access to the Media Room, a private shared office space for media
  • a County Court lanyard for easy identification at Court.

Media requests

Make an application to record or film in court, for access to documents, transcripts and exhibits, or other matters with the Media Request Form.

Civil file search requests

Journalists should contact the Media and Communications team to request access to civil files. Please include the case reference number (CI-XX-XXXXX) and case name (John Smith v Smith Corp).

Restrictions on publication

There is always a presumption in favour of an open and transparent court. Sometimes, however, the interests of justice require certain information not be published or disclosed. It is important to note the operation of the guidelines is always subject to the exercise of judicial discretion. Each of our judges has the power to regulate the proceedings of their court.

Various pieces of legislation can also limit the media's ability to report on matters before the Court. In particular, the direct or indirect identification of people who are the victims of sexual assault is prohibited. This principle can extend to circumstances in which an offender cannot be identified (for example, when the victim is related to the offender, in which case naming the offender would identify the victim).

There are also restrictions on what may be reported at committal hearings of sex offence cases.

Please note that the onus is on all journalists and media organisations to ensure their broadcasts and published news reports comply with relevant legislation and suppression orders.

Please seek independent legal advice prior to broadcasting or publishing if you are unsure of your legal obligations, as you or your organisation could be subject to legal action.

Judges of the County Court

Below is a list containing the full names of Judges of the County Court.

Further reading

Covering the courts is the starting point for any journalist new to reporting on court matters. The series of questions and answers demystifies court terminology and protocols. It explains important subjects, such as reporting on a trial before a jury, inadmissible evidence, suppression orders and contempt of court.

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Page last updated: 5 December 2019