courts online hearings

Courts and Tribunals to upgrade a new platform for online hearings

Online hearings in courts have been the standard since the commencement of the COVID-19 pandemic. The cloud video platform was launched last year to keep business running in courts and tribunals during the pandemic. During last week’s Legal Wales Conference, Lord Burnett, the Lord Chief Justice has announced the rollout of a new video hearing service.

He quotes that the new Video Hearing Service (VHS) will perform better compared to the Cloud Video Platform (CVP), allowing easier access to justice for many. He states that it would provide:

a higher quality and managed platform to enable some or all participants in legal proceedings to join by video from any suitable location”.

What are the upgrades? 

The Video Hearing System will provide individuals:” virtual consultation rooms, checks and guidance to ascertain compatibility for use, the explanation of court rules for the user and a monitored hearing network to check connectivity thus ensuring that no-one drops out unnoticed.’

Other convenient features such as “list assist” will enforce “consistent digital tools and processes”. It will also introduce a case management system that will make it easier for listing officers. He added that “They will provide better support for judicial decision making on scheduling and listing across all courts and tribunals”. These upgrades will certainly make the world of online hearings easier and more effective. Courts must be able to effectively adapt to the environment we are in currently; online viewings can enforce safety during COVID.

How will they benefit hearing processes? 

The new platform has been adjusted to make the online hearing process simpler for whoever needs to use them. It will protect individuals who cannot attend hearings due to COVID and avoid unnecessary interaction and risk of the spread of COVID-19. It will also save individuals time when commuting to court. All in all, it is a beneficial adaptation to what was already present.

Lord Burnett restated his proposal for resourcing of the courts, conveying that the government provided “too little focus of the value of the rule of law, a properly functioning administration of justice and the courts contribute to the general prosperity of the nation, beyond the direct and substantial value of the legal sector”.

What we think

Our solicitor’s opinion on this topic is that they “think it is more convenient, and it is necessary at this time. It shows that the courts adapted well to the new environment and made it operate. But there are concerns about matters concerning this not being face to face hearings, as third-party interference may be an issue”.

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