Court innovation throughout the pandemic
As the world attempts will find its ‘new normal’, the English Courts have been increasing their use of technology, effecting changes to continue the administration of justice during the pandemic.
The Courts had previously used electronic methods, including electronic filing of documents (which is now being extended) and further steps under the electronic working pilot scheme, to make justice more efficient, however remote hearings were the exception.
Covid-19 has been a catalyst for accelerated change and, whilst some of the physical buildings remain closed, the Courts continue to trial new methods and processes to ensure they continue to function, such as:
- witnesses, including experts, being permitted to give evidence remotely;
- cloud video technology;
- remote hearings; and
- increased use of electronic signatures.
In addition to this, additional venues are being utilised on a temporary basis to provide the legal system with increased capacity and assistance (known as Nightingale courts). This technological evolution of the Courts’ approach to hearings and case management may be some small gain for the legal system in these very difficult times.
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