Suppression orders in criminal trials: still necessary in the digital era

Marco Lopresti, Andrew Burke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Debate on whether or not suppression orders are futile in the digital era intensified following R v Pell. All Australian jurisdictions use a test based on necessity: that the suppression order is necessary to prevent prejudice or is in the public interest. Inherent to this test is the balance between open justice and fair trial rights; in the Australian context, the High Court has established the primacy of the latter. This article considers the purpose and historical origins of suppression orders to argue that, in criminal proceedings involving jury trials, the necessity test can be met despite the challenges of the digital era. Necessity in this context should be understood as a continuum rather than an absolute; it is not necessary that the risk of prejudice is eliminated. The strengths of the Australian approach are further illustrated by comparison with the United States where the First Amendment tips the balance in favour of open justice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-30
Number of pages13
JournalCriminal Law Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 3 Mar 2021


  • suppression orders
  • jury
  • internet
  • Pell


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