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Portrait of Lisa Flower. Photo: Emma Lord.

Lisa Flower

Associate Professor | Associate Senior Lecturer

Portrait of Lisa Flower. Photo: Emma Lord.

The criminal trial as a live event: Exploring how and why live blogs change the professional practices of judges, defence lawyers and prosecutors


  • Lisa Flower
  • Marie-Sophie Ahlefeldt

Summary, in English

Live blogging from legal trials has become one of the most accessible ways in which the public can gain direct insight into legal proceedings, particularly in countries where television cameras are denied entry into the courtroom. Whilst live blogging constitutes an important way of ensuring the transparency and openness of legal processes and documents – a principle known as open justice and a key component of many democratic societies – the risks stemming from opening up the courts not only to more immediate and detailed scrutiny, but also to a larger, virtual audience are lesser known. A deeper understanding of how a legal trial’s transformation into a live event due to live blogs has impacted on the legal sphere is therefore needed. The aims of this article are thus twofold: to show how live blogs are changing legal professionals’ work practices and to discuss what it is about live blogs that leads to these changes in professional practices. The analysis draws on qualitative interviews with legal professionals in Sweden and Denmark and finds that live blogs increase reflection in professional performances stemming from an awareness of performing to a virtual audience. Surveillance thus leads to performance adjustment. Live blogs also lead to changes in professionals practices and transform the audience/participant boundary into a fluid one most notably regarding the Danish respondents in comparison to those in Sweden. The article also suggests a hierarchy of liveness with live blogs considered to be less intrusive than televised trials.


  • Department of Sociology

Publishing year







Media, Culture and Society





Document type

Journal article


SAGE Publications


  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • courtroom
  • criminal trial
  • virtual audience
  • legal professionals
  • live blog
  • hierarchy of liveness
  • publicness
  • surveillance
  • synopticism




  • ISSN: 1460-3675