These are valuable forms of indirect, explanatory accountability to the public, as they enable scrutiny of individual judicial decisions and the judiciary as an institution.
Media Reports: The media often reports on the progress and outcome of court cases, as well as upon their views on a judge’s performance in particular cases or in general. This form of accountability allows scrutiny through the media of individual judges.
The judiciary as an institution
Interviews and media briefings: The media also reports on matters concerning the judiciary as a whole. Additionally, judges from time to time give interviews or media briefings although these will never be to comment on a particular case or decision. Since the time when Lord Taylor was Lord Chief Justice the holder of that office has given press interviews. On occasion, it may also be helpful for judges to provide clarity – in general terms – to the public, via a media briefing, on a particular issue, though this will remain very much the exception rather than the rule. In addition, the Judicial Office press team will, on behalf of the judiciary, sometimes issue media statements where it is felt the judiciary’s position needs to be publicly stated.
The Lord Chief Justice’s Review of the Administration of Justice in the Courts: After the Constitutional Reform Act came into force in April 2006, the then Lord Chief Justice announced that he would publish a regular review of the areas for which the judiciary is now responsible, and to identify the matters which appeared to him to be of importance to the judiciary and to the administration of justice in England and Wales. The first such review, presented to The Queen as Head of State and Parliament, was published in March 2008.
Court reports: Individual courts also provide an annual report on their own performance throughout the year, including a commentary from the local Resident Judge, Designated Civil or Designated Family Judge.
Other forms of accountability – Crown Copyright