Emojis as easy to interpret as 'Spanish or French', argues defence lawyer


Friday, February 22, 2019

Emojis pose no more difficulty to the courts than interpreting another language, a criminal defence lawyer has argued. 

Emojis are becoming increasingly more relevant in court cases, leading to worries by some senior lawyers that out-of-touch judges may not be able to interpret the hidden meanings behind the seemingly innocuous digital images.

Speaking to talkRADIO’s Daisy McAndrew however, criminal defence lawyer Jeremy Dein QC said emojis posed no more difficulty than evidence given in another language.



Mr Dein said: “In the criminal courts the public seem to proceed on the misapprehension that we’re stuck in the 18th century that’s absolutely not the case and we just deal with each issue as it arises as soon as possible.

“Without undermining the importance of the discussion that’s taking place, I don’t think emoji language will present any more difficulties than anything else.

“If emojis feature, they feature in a very, very limited way. If it became necessary for emoji language to be interpreted I’m sure there are experts or lay witnesses in the case that could come along and interpret them.”


'Judges use plenty of emojis'

Mr Justice Peter Jackson became the first judge to include emojis in his ruling on contact provisions for two children in 2016, on the basis that they made the ruling easier to understand for the two children.

Messages including emojis interpreted as denoting prostitution or drug use have been used as evidence in other trials, particularly in the US.

Mr Dein said it was important for the courts to be up-to-date, but said the public should be reassured that “within the legal profession there’s plenty of emojis and texts sent between barristers, solicitors and judges.”

“I myself use the shining sun emotion quite often because it makes me happy,” he added.