Announcing – 2nd phase of ‘Remote Courts Worldwide’

April 30, 2020

Are remote courts working well or badly?

Background – Remote Courts Worldwide ( was launched five weeks ago to help the global community of justice workers (judges, lawyers, court officials, litigants, court technologists) to share news about the video and audio hearings which are now being conducted instead of traditional court hearings in physical buildings. As law courts have closed, this website has rapidly become the definitive worldwide source of information about remote courts in more than 40 countries

Announcing 2nd phase of Remote Courts Worldwide – the next phase in the initiative will focus on inviting and presenting feedback from around the world – from court users, lawyers, and judges – about how remote courts are working in practice. What is working well and what is not. This is intended to help court services to improve their existing remote courts and to inform policymakers when they come to consider the long-term implications of the current changes for the future of their courts.

Insights so far – analysis of the reports in Remote Courts Worldwide suggests that:

  1. Technology has enabled courts to stay open – access to justice is being maintained around the world during the crisis by the wide deployment of video hearings and audio hearings. 
  2. The technologies being used are widely accessible to all – for example, Zoom and Skype, along with conventional telephone conferencing.
  3. There are variations in formality – contrast a laid-back Chilean arraignment hearing with the insistence of a senior Chinese judge that a sense of ritual must be maintained.
  4. Judges are taking a robust approach – a Court of Protection case in England went ahead on Skype, because the judge felt that it would have been extremely risky to convene conventionally. An Australian judge refused an application for an adjournment, supporting the applicants’ argument that a fair trial could not in that case be held by video.
  5. The work of the courts has become more transparent – the pandemic has accelerated a trend of making proceedings more widely available to the wider public via the Web. 

Note – Remote Courts Worldwide is a collaborative project, involving the Society for Computers and Law, the UK LawTech Delivery Panel, and Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service. It is being led by Professor Richard Susskind, President of the Society for Computers and Law, and an expert in online courts – “We are delighted by the popularity of our site and thank contributors from around the globe. This second phase of our service is vital – to find out what is working well and what is not. Remote courts are here to stay and we must work hard, in light of concrete experience, to improve their performance.

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