LAWYERS that apply for superfluous media gag orders have come under fire in Tamworth Local Court.
At least three cases that came before the court were subject to suppression orders on Wednesday.
For the sake of open justice, solicitors need to have good reason for hiding the names of the accused magistrate Julie Soars said.
"On the next occasion I will be inquiring about why we need to continue, because there has been some publication about the making of unnecessary orders to a certain extent," she said.
"The impulse is to continue a suppression order but we do need to come to grips with whether these orders are necessary given statutory protections."
Open justice is one of the fundamental principles of the Australian justice system.
It means court cases should take place in public unless there is good reason to deal with a matter in private.
A suppression order, or non-publication order, is made by the courts and prohibits the media from disclosure of information about a legal case.
It can be to protect witnesses, guarantee a fair trial or in the interest of national security and can apply to anything from names to specific details about a case.
Defence solicitor Harry Pendlebury made an application to continue a suppression order for a client charged with historical child sex abuse on Wednesday.
"I’m appearing as agent this morning, we would ask that non-publication to continue," he said.
The non-publication order on that case gags the media from reporting on the name of the defendant, it's common practice when a relationship could identify the victim.
But, it ignores the alternative of naming the defendant and omitting details of the relationship, protecting the victim's identity.
A discussion about a suppression order applied for by solicitor Alex Floyd in another case was suppressed by magistrate Julie Soars, so, for legal reasons The Leader cannot report on the conversation.
Mr Floyd's application to suppress the name of his client Jacob Charles Woods, 36, was denied.
Woods remains in custody accused of raping an 11-year-old boy at The Armidale School in 2001, where he worked as a housemaster in his late teens.
Media has faced criticism for its inability to report the names of alleged offenders.
Breaking non-publication orders is considered contempt of court.