“Seize the moment”: Remote Courts Worldwide launches as COVID-19 turbo charges the need for modern courts

A ‘time is of the essence’ collaboration between The Society for Computers and Law, the UK LawTech Delivery Panel and Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service will today (30 March) see the launch of Remote Courts Worldwide: a service to help the justice sector rise to the challenge of embracing remote hearings and new ways of delivering justice for users.

Across the globe courts are attempting to keep the justice system functioning despite the Coronavirus lockdown by introducing various forms of remote hearings including video hearings using Skype and Zoom. The new service will enable judges, lawyers, court officials, litigants and technologists to share their experiences and capture best practice on the website www.remotecourts.org in order to help facilitate and accelerate change as well as avoid reinventing the wheel.

The new service is being led by Professor Richard Susskind, president of the Society for Computers and Law, a long-time advocate for and author of many books on online courts, who said: “It’s time to come together, globally, to accelerate the introduction of remote hearings by judges. We have no choice. Physical courts are closing. There’s little point in lamenting any lack of past investment nor in predicting that technology will fail. Let’s make it happen. We just seize the moment and come together to accelerate the development of new ways of delivering just outcomes for court users.”

Jenifer Swallow, LawTech Director said: “The current crisis is unprecedented and requires us to rapidly explore new and innovative ways to ensure the justice systems continues to operate. Remote hearings are an important part of helping us meet the challenges we face, and we are working flat out to increase the use of audio and video technology in the courts and tribunals across England and Wales. In doing so we have gained as a result of HMCTS’s ongoing reform programme.”

In collaboration with the Ministry of Justice, HMCTS is investing £1bn to reform the courts and tribunal system, bringing in new technology and ways of working.

See also:

UK Courts to operate remotely during the Coronavirus pandemic? Let’s be honest, it’s complicated