Social media and the courts - Review timely

Chief Justice Susan Denham deserves credit for her initiative in launching a review of social media and its impact on the courts.

While discussions on such a review will likely be confined to the judiciary initially, it is noteworthy that she has also asked the Courts Service to engage with the media and legal professions on the issue.

Her immediate concern appears to be how to use contempt of court laws to curb inaccurate online communications but the effects of social media on our justice system go much further. The laws of defamation and contract are examples of two areas of law that also need to be reformed.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan is keen to review contempt laws in light of the use of social media by supporters of the six men acquitted of falsely imprisoning former tánaiste Joan Burton in Jobstown.

Hopefully, the Chief Justice’s initiative will spur him and his fellow legislators into conducting a more widespread review of our legal system to bring it into the 21st century.

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