Benefits of virtual hearings | Are remote courts here to stay?
Since many courts closed last March, virtual hearings have become a firm fixture in the judicial system, ensuring justice can ensue even when face-to-face contact was not possible. Since then, thousands of remote hearings have taken place each day across the UK.
With most lockdown restrictions lifted, the question now is whether remote hearings will continue to play a prevalent role in litigation and dispute resolution. Trish Bailey, Legal Client Manager at Sparq highlights some of the benefits of virtual hearings.
Remote courts are undoubtedly boosting access to justice by making it easier for participants to appear, particularly in circumstances where parties are unable to attend court due to illness or in current circumstances – quarantine. Virtual hearings ensure the case can still be heard if the individual can appear via video link, which in turn helps reduce delays to court proceedings. Another consideration is virtual hearings improve public access, allowing individuals to log in wherever they are based.
Remote courts are logistically more efficient. The judicial system was already experiencing a backlog pre-pandemic, and additional downtime last year added to the build-up in cases. Virtual hearings provide more flexibility and help reduce delays. What’s more, important discussions which previously may have taken minimal time can be resolved quicker than gathering in a physical court.
Reduction in travel
In the legal sector, pre-pandemic, travel was a disruptive but necessary part of the industry. There was not only the cost associated with travelling but also the time spent doing so. Whether driving miles across the country for domestic cases or flying internationally, travelling was lost time in productivity. This doesn’t even take into account current restrictions on international travel and quarantine.
Virtual hearings are more cost-efficient than in-person cases, primarily due to travel costs and court hire. A large factor is the cost of staff at court sites and the use of multiple locations in the process. While there may be a cost associated with the virtual hearing provider, it will be minimal in comparison.
Whether that was global travel pre-pandemic or current domestic travel across the UK, hosting a physical hearing can clock up some serious miles through transportation, and this results in high levels of emissions from all parties. Virtual trials offer a suitable alternative for parties looking to reduce their environmental footprint.
Sparq virtual court hearings
Sparq, a digital event specialist, has a proven track record delivering highly secure and seamless virtual hearings, providing bespoke technical support and additional services including bundle management and transcription.