Why courtroom sketches?

The presence of artists in the courtroom is a consequence of the ban on bringing cameras into the court.
In France, cameras were banned from courtrooms by the law of December 6, 1954, which itself amended the law of July 29, 1881 on the freedom of the press. It states that ‘all devices permitting the recording, fixing or transmission of speech or images’ are forbidden (section 38 ter).
After a series of trials were disturbed by journalists, the law was voted in order to preserve a serene atmosphere during debates so that justice could be rendered.
Section 308 of the Code de procédure pénale reminds us that it applies ‘as from the opening of the hearing’ and defines the sanctions for offenders.
The Law of July 11, 1985 attenuated these dispositions by authorizing recording for the constitution of historical archives.
Discreet, the artists were the only people authorized to capture moments of the trial, in picture form, their work being considered as an interpretation.

Listen to Astrid de La Forêt, artist - 0:40 [MP3 - 0.5 Méga octets]

Listen to Stéphane Durand-Souffland, court reporter - 2:20 [MP3 - 1.6 Méga octets]

Image n°1 : 'Do Not Take Photos' notice.


© Palais de Justice de Paris

Image n°2 : Sylvie Guillot and Julien Tiberi drawing in court.

9 mars 2009. Watercolour, 29x42cm.

© Benoit Peyrucq

Image n°3 : Cabu drawing at the Ben Barka Trial.

1966. 27x20,5cm.

© Donga

Listen to Cabu, artist - 00:13 [MP3 - 0.2 Méga octets]

Image n°4 : Noëlle Herrenschmidt drawing at the Papon Trial in the Law Courts in Bordeaux.

1997. Pencil, 29x42cm.

© Riss

Image n°5 : Tignous drawing in the Law Courts in Paris .

2007. Pencil, 29x42cm.

© Benoit Peyrucq

Image n°6 : Benoit Peyrucq and Brig drawing in the Law Courts in Paris.

2007. Felt-tip pen, 29,7x21cm.

© Tignous