Karen Stachura writes concerning the advantages and disadvantages of the digital court system which has emerged within the last year.
“Only a catastrophe – real or perceived – generates real change. When that crisis happens, the actions which are accepted depend on the thoughts which are lying about. That, I think, is our fundamental purpose: to produce alternatives to existing policies, to keep them available until the impossible becomes the inevitable.”
In other words, before 2020.
It’s been said that five decades of IT development happened in under five months, leading to the digital courtroom being born. However, as with several things in the previous year, it had been born from necessity as opposed to choice, which has made it open to criticism and scepticism.
Since the SCTS and lawful profession today grab their breath and reflect on the changes which have changed our present court systems, what decision will they create regarding how they would like to shape their own future? And to what extent would the digital courts reside on?
From a customer’s perspective, there are considerable cost advantages to the digital courtroom. The traveling and waiting times are significantly reduced. For regular hearings (i.e., besides an evidence (trial) or disagreement ), their attorney or counselor may handle other company whilst waiting liberally for their situation to phone, thus reducing costs even further.
However, what about signs (trials)? ) Can justice really be sent with witnesses giving their signs practically? Concerns are expressed , where reliability and authenticity are in issue, they are best assessed in person. That could be so, but whilst witnesses at a digital courtroom aren’t physically prior to the decision-maker, they’re constantly on perspective when giving their evidence. There might therefore be a higher chance given to the Judge or Sheriff to evaluate the authenticity and reliability of the witness. I’m mindful of a British Judge lately making this very stage – that having the ability to find the watch confront, instead of side on, was really valuable.
However, to what extent which has an adverse effect is, so far, cloudy. It’s also worth mentioning that the digital courtroom is at its infancy, and its customers are studying a new set of abilities to accommodate it.
Concern has also been voiced that witnesses might be trained or have somebody else in the area affecting them whilst providing evidence. It’s also asserted that witnesses might feel more comfortable in the home and might consequently not take care of the event with the identical solemnity as though they were at a tangible courtroom. There could be merit in these types of concerns. But a witness could be coached no matter where they provide evidence, and answers can be devised to assess whether a witness is independently and uninfluenced whilst providing proof (in America, by way of instance, witnesses may be asked at any time to provide a 360° camera perspective of the space they’re into check for only that). Additionally, being on camera the entire time whilst providing evidence is possibly more inclined to focus things than detract from them. But, there’s very little doubt that the feeling of gravitas and play of a conventional courtroom is absent in the digital courtroom.
Therefore, it’s simply in a small minority of instances where the conventional court might be considered more suitable than the one.
The discussion around the benefits and pitfalls of the digital courtroom will undoubtedly continue for a while. Maybe we should see the digital courtroom, not as a replacement for your conventional courtroom, but as an adjoining to it. The court provides a support, not only a forum. Tradition should not dictate our potential, just because that is how it has ever been. Equally, I’m excited about the afternoon when circumstances do not dictate our current.
When determining the future of this court system we ought to inquire what’s been missing by not using a conventional courtroom, and what’s been gained by it? As a consequence of this catastrophe, and also the technological progress made , the SCTS has an option about how it wants the upcoming court system to be formed. Certainly, the conventional and the digital courtroom can co-exist in stability, Assessing the advantages of each. To future proof our court system, there’ll have to be cooperation and communication among the legal profession, in addition to training and transparency in the procedures to make sure all involved may offer the very best support to people who want it.