remote court hearings

The first weeks of the pandemic caused many delays and cancellations in the courtrooms across judicial institutions. However, justice systems quickly picked up on that and found a way to transform their work. Even better – together with the newly adopted methods for work like virtual hearings, some courts started gaining efficiency.

remote court hearings

Thanks to technology, courts started adopting remote hearings. The goal was to transform judicial processes to accommodate better the reality of the new normal. Of course, this happened with the help of technology. It looks like 2021 is about to bring even more changes in the courtroom. Changes that are going to stay even after the pandemic is over.

Benefits of migrating to remote hearings

  1. Remote Hearings are like in-person hearings but virtual. They are more than virtual meeting because they have to mirror the real courtroom proceedings. It means that the attendees in the in-person hearings are keeping their capabilities in the online court hearings.
  2. Cost-efficiency. Issues such as long waiting time for courtrooms and lagging schedules can be eliminated with a good remote hearings solution. It also means that travel costs for law enforcement officers, international court participants, etc. will be reduced. Last but not least, this all has a positive impact on the environment.
  3. People with disabilities or people with limited financial resources have equal access to justice. The option for people to participate in court proceeding from their living room is a big step towards progress. And it’s a sign for a healthy and functional society.
  4. Recording court cases can improve literacy. People who self-represent themselves in court are going to learn much from digitally recorded court proceedings. This creates more opportunities for society to use the services of the justice system.

Aside from the benefits, there are some potential constraints in the use of remote hearing solutions. They may be caused mostly in:

  1. Regions with poor internet. People living in areas with a poor internet connection may face problems accessing digital justice via virtual hearings. 
  2. Regions that fall behind in digital literacy. Even the areas with a good internet connection might have people who are not in an equal position to access remote hearings. These are usually people with social disadvantages.

These are just examples of potential problems. To prevent them from happening, courts have to design digital processes to respond to the needs of people with disadvantages. 

Read more: How to formulate a digital transformation strategy in the justice system?

The future of virtual hearings – temporary or permanent digital court solution?

Remote court hearings are going to stay for as long there are risks for the public health. Once this risk is completely mitigated, perhaps the lawyers will be the first who will root for coming back to normal in-person hearings. It’s simply so because the witness preparation might be a harder task when done remotely. So if there’s a choice to make once we put the pandemic behind us, the complex cases are most likely to be continued with in-person hearings.

However, the cost savings are not be underestimated. Time is the most invaluable resource. If court participants manage to save enough time with remote hearings and use it well to prepare for their cases, then the future of this practice may live longer than the sceptics predicted. If we combine the time saving with the actual cost savings on resources and the positive environmental impact, the question “should we do this in-person?” will be raised more often.

What should we know about effective remote court hearings?

  1. Remote court hearings are a key to providing equal access to justice for every group of people.
  2. Remote hearings create opportunities for a more efficient administrations of court matters
  3. The workflow of digital court processes must address the potential issues it may cause for some specific groups of users.
  4. Remote court hearings can contribute for a better justice system.

Get an access to free demo of Casedoc Virtual Hearing now.

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