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Sparq support the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Services in another UK first

UK first

Sparq, alongside ODEON provided support for the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service creating another UK first by running virtual court sessions with a remote jury since September. The initiative has been backed by the Scottish government who’ve funded £5.5 million into the project to allow High Court trials in Scotland to get back to pre-COVID-19 business levels by having 16 courts to run concurrently with a remote jury.

Virtual court trials

Socially distanced

This UK first set-up allows jurors to sit spaced apart, following all strict government guidelines within a cinema screen, with cameras connecting them to the main courts, where the legal teams for both the prosecution and defence, witnesses and accused are located. The jury members are also streamed back to a video wall into the court for the benefit of the lawyers and judiciary teams.

The team have set-up the screen in the cinema into four quadrants showing a live view of the courtroom, the accused, the judge or witnesses and the Scottish Courts logo which has the ability to be replaced with relevant presentations such as physical or video evidence. The team can also cut the live feed from the courtroom at the touch of a button, avoiding the need for the jury to retire whilst legal arguments are heard.

True innovation

Speaking about the project, Sparq Client Director, Rob Morrison explained: “Working alongside our partner ODEON, we were incredibly excited to be able to deliver an extraordinary and ingenious solution to tackle the increasing backlog of cases, setting a new precedent for proceedings within the UK legal system”.

Ronnie Renucci QC, Vice-Dean of Faculty and the President of the Scottish Criminal Bar Association, member of the Working Group commented: "The use of cinemas as remote jury centres is an innovative and unique solution to the problem of conducting jury trials during the present restrictions. More importantly, it is a workable solution that allows jury trials to proceed at a sustainable level, which should prevent the present backlog from rising further".

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