Approaching the bloggy bench

by Toby Manhire / 06 September, 2012
David Harvey, the judge who has stood down from the Kim Dotcom case, writes insightfully on judges, blogs and social media.
Though his chief ambition was wordplay, David Harvey simply had to stand down.

The district court judge’s quip, “We have seen the enemy, and it is U.S.,” made during a meeting about the proposed TPP trade agreement, meant he had to recuse himself from the Kim Dotcom extradition case. And so he did.

But the great shame of it all is that Harvey is far and away the most internet-literate of New Zealand’s judges. A reminder of that comes in a thoughtful piece Harvey has written for NZLawyer Extra, on the subject of judges who blog and tweet and all that.

The article is replete with examples, and rewards a proper read.

Surveying the state of the debate in the UK, the US and Australia, Judge Harvey notes that while there will always remain a “risk that social media engagement by a judge could go horribly wrong”, why should judges not “blog about aspects of their jobs, professional issues, and the like, as long as nothing is said that might compromise the appearance of neutrality in a case”?

Equal care should be applied by judges dipping their toes into social media.

The example of the New York judge was moved sideways after apparently updating his Facebook page from the bench, and posting a photo of his busy courtroom, is one to avoid.

But such isolated cases are not cause for a blanket prohibition. Harvey quotes the “sage” advice of one US judge:

All judges and court staff using social media websites would do well to remember the advice given in the 1980s television show Hill Street Blues by dispatch Sergeant Phil Esterhaus: ‘Hey, let’s be careful out there.’

MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage

Latest

TVNZ confirms job losses in news reshuffle
69723 2017-03-24 08:31:59Z Business

TVNZ confirms job losses in news reshuffle

by Colin Peacock

An overall reduction in news jobs at TVNZ is likely, staff have been told, as the broadcaster reveals a new plan to cut some roles and introduce other

Read more
Did New Zealand make any impact on the UN Security Council?
Pasifika Festival: What to do, see and eat
The best magazine cafes in Auckland
69708 2017-03-23 12:30:03Z Where to go in Auckland

The best magazine cafes in Auckland

by Paperboy

Sometimes it’s nice to just spend a lazy morning in a cafe reading a good magazine, while you nibble on a scone and order copious amounts of coffee.

Read more
British PM condemns 'sick and depraved' attack
69696 2017-03-23 12:05:13Z World

British PM condemns 'sick and depraved' attack

by RNZ

Theresa May says a terrorist has chosen to strike at the heart of London, as world leaders pledge their support for the UK.

Read more
If anyone's making a buck out of our fresh water, surely it should be Kiwis
69660 2017-03-23 10:40:26Z Politics

If anyone's making a buck out of our fresh water, …

by The Listener

The debate on bottled-water exports is based on two heartfelt beliefs: free access to clean water and national assets should not be given away.

Read more
A big Dunedin Study discovery is owned by an American university
Gigs coming up in Auckland: Yumi Zouma, Nadia Reid, SWIDT, plus more top events
69557 2017-03-23 00:00:00Z What's on

Gigs coming up in Auckland: Yumi Zouma, Nadia Reid…

by India Hendrikse

Music! With SWIDT, Nadia Reid, Yumi Zouma and The Slacks, plus check out our picks for dance and theatre events, and the Vegan Food Fair.

Read more