Justices and Journalists: The Global Perspective. By Richard Davis and David Taras. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Published date01 March 2018
Date01 March 2018
Justices and Journalists: The Global Perspective. By Richard Davis and
David Taras. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.
Reviewed by Maria Rae, School of Humanities and Social Sciences,
Deakin University
There is an oft-quoted aphorism, arising from a case about the
impartiality of judges, that justice must not only be done, but to be
seen to be done. Yet, although the courts are open to the public, not
many of us will enter those doors to see law in action nor will many
of us be directly involved in a legal case. So, society usually only sees
justice being done through the media whether it is in the newspa-
pers, radio, television, or on the internet. The relationship between
judges and journalists thus becomes critical for society to determine
and challenge the legitimacy of its legal system. This edited volume,
then, is a valuable intervention in showing how this relationship
varies in different countries and the impact this has on how each
society views the law. Although there have been a few national stud-
ies of how courts interact with the media, this book is the first to
offer a global and comparative perspective.
The strength of this book is the choice of case studies based on
the criteria of independent courts in both new and established
democracies with a broad geographical spread. This allows for a
comprehensive examination of how courts have responded vari-
ously to crises of legitimacy, different constitutional cultures and
rapid changes to journalism. At the heart of each analysis is the ten-
sion between transparency and gaining the trust of the public with
the courts maintaining control of the narrative. The end result is a
fascinating and careful mapping of more open legal systems such as
the radical communication practices of Brazil and Argentina to the
more restricted access that Norway and South Korea grants jour-
nalists. Along the spectrum of transparency, there are insights into
how Australia has engaged with social media, the adoption of
streamed coverage in the United Kingdom and the media policy of
judicial distance in Israel. The other countries comprise Canada,
Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Mexico, and the United States. As a
point of difference it may have been interesting to include an
authoritarian state to examine any efforts to circumvent censorship,
however, the editors have aptly justified the focus on autonomous
Each case study is adept at succinctly situating the legal institu-
tions within the broader political and socialcontext of that particular
nation-state. This background works to elucidate why some courts
choose to engage with the media and to what extent. As the editor’s
note, judges across the world have been fearful that, in dealing with
284 Book Reviews

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