Hardly a week goes by here at the Guardian without some indignant individual contacting us, demanding that their name be taken out of a court report or, worse still, that the article be deleted immediately. Often it is the relatives who contact us, no doubt embarrassed by the publication of the defendant’s address.

It seems there are a lot of people living in our midst who do not understand the principle of open justice. They do not understand that it is a fundamental principle that justice must be seen to be done. It is therefore established in this country that, with certain exceptions, court cases should be heard in public.

This principle of open justice is a safeguard against judicial error or wrongdoing, a deterrent to perjury, and acts as a deterrent to other aspiring criminals. It doesn’t matter who you are; teacher, shop assistant, judge, bricklayer or chief executive. If you have been charged with an offence, that is a matter of public interest. I have worked on newspapers in the past where even one or two journalists have ended up in the court pages of their own paper, despite an appeal for clemency to the rightly resolute editor.

Defendants can expect to have their full name, age and street name published in order to clearly identify and distinguish them from someone else in the area who may have the same name.

Court stories are among the most popular with our readers. The reason for that, in part, is because the public rightly demands to see justice being done.