Remote hearings questioned as long-term option for family courts
Remote hearings should not necessarily be seen as a long-term option for the family courts, a leading judge has warned….More
Justice secretary Robert Buckland has suggested courts will have to “sweat our assets” to catch up with a backlog of cases.
Earlier this week new jury trials made a limited return after the coronavirus lockdown, with four courts including the Old Bailey starting new trials on Monday morning.
With safety measures limiting capacity, however, Mr Buckland warned that the justice system would have to increasingly embrace technology to deal with the delays.
Among the changes he mentioned were greater use of video technology, which has already allowed magistrates to continue to hear cases during the lockdown, for example.
“Our courts have adapted well during this pandemic by expanding the use of video technology but there are some things that just have to happen in person, such as jury trials,” Mr Buckland told the Evening Standard.
“When we have beaten this virus, there will inevitably be a recovery phase for the courts and the judiciary and I am currently looking at how we can better sweat our assets to get back up to speed and ensure everyone has access to justice.”
“We have learnt a lot over the past few months and some of the improvisation will put the justice system in good stead for the future.”
Other measures might include the creation of new court buildings, reducing the number of jurors needed for each case, or a switch to non-jury trials held instead before a judge and two magistrates.