Defending the
Human Right
to a
Fair Trial

Open Justice

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Justice must not only be done, it must also be seen to be done. This is one reason why, except in rare cases, people are entitled to a public hearing. Open Justice enables the public to see how justice is administered and by subjecting it to public and press scrutiny, safeguards the fairness of the trial. This is also why people are entitled to a reasoned judgment which has been made public.

Open Justice requires people to be informed of the reasons for their arrest and any pretrial detention (to safeguard Liberty). They must also be given information on their rights as a suspect. Without this information, conveyed in a language the person understands, rights that exist in law are illusory in practice.

People should be told what they are being prosecuted for and shown the evidence against them, in a language they understand. Without this information, a person would not have a Fair Chance to Present a Defence, for example by gathering evidence to counter claims made against them or providing alibi evidence.

The Right to a Fair Trial also requires that people charged with offences be allowed to attend court and to participate effectively in the trial. This enables the court to interact with them and allows the person to hear and respond to the prosecution case. Defendants are entitled to give evidence and, except in exceptional cases, are also entitled to call witnesses and cross-examine prosecution witnesses.