The use of micro-blogging service Twitter within court has been given the go-ahead in England and Wales.

The Lord Chief Justice said the real-time discussion tool was acceptable, provided it did not interfere with court recording equipment or cause distractions in court.

"The use of an unobtrusive, hand-held, virtually silent piece of modern equipment for the purposes of simultaneous reporting of proceedings to the outside world as they unfold in court is unlikely to interfere with the proper administration of justice," he said.

The move by the Lord Chief Justice will take immediate effect. However, a consultation into the practice that will take in the views of prosecutors, lawyers, the media and "interested members of the public" is planned for the future.

The ruling followed the use of the micro-blogging service during the recent bail application of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, who was arrested in London earlier this month.

He is wanted in Sweden on one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape.