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The Empire Strikes Back: Press Judges and Communication Advisers in Dutch Courts

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Abstract:

Judges in many jurisdictions are today prepared to utilize the media to promote a better public understanding of their role. Understandably, they wish not to be perceived as ‘spin doctors’ intent on a cynical manipulation of public opinion. Judges' professional reputation, their public image, and public confidence in their role hinge on a belief in their neutrality and impartiality. Court communicators are also aware that their success in the media arena depends on a degree of skill and strategizing to ensure that the integrity and complexity of their message are preserved in media reports. This paper discusses how press judges (judges who also act as media spokesperson) and communication advisers in Dutch courts address this. It is argued that the media liaison function embraced by Dutch courts may be an expansion of law's empire or, at least, a possible attempt by law's empire to strike back against the pressures of an increasingly inquisitive media.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6478.2005.00332.x

Affiliations: Department of Law, Keele University, Keele ST5 5BG, England, Email: l.gies@keele.ac.uk

Publication date: 2005-09-01

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