Outdated software forces secret court hearings

The Victorian Magistrates’ Court has begun to allow “silent listings”, in which the scheduled hearing of a criminal matter will not be published on any of the Court’s lists. Although this conflicts with the principle of open justice, Chief Magistrate Peter Lauritson explains that “[i]n some cases, it is necessary for the safety of the accused that his or her name does not appear in such listings.” The same is true in other jurisdictions, such as the Family Court of Australia, where the use of pseudonyms is common. However, that solution is not available to the Magistrates’ Court: “Owing to the limitations of its electronic case management system, it is technically impracticable for the Court to use a pseudonym for an accused person.”