Crown Courts begin video call trials

Written by Peter Walker
25/03/20

British Crown Courts have announced that phone and video technology will be introduced to help continue trials amid social distancing measures to combat the spread of Coronavirus.

The Lord Chief Justice put a temporary pause on new jury trials in Crown Courts, with only existing jury trials set to continue until they reach a conclusion.

“We’re adjusting practices and taking steps to minimise any risk to the judiciary, staff, professional and public users, including justice partners,” read a statement.

“We have put in place arrangements to use telephone, video and other technology to continue as many hearings as possible remotely,” it continued. “We will make best possible use of the equipment currently available and are working non-stop to update and add to that. Some hearings, the most obvious being jury trials, cannot be conducted remotely.”

The official advice explained that judges can consider telephone or video links in a number of circumstances. “This includes for example where a defendant does not need to attend in person an application to appeal refusal of bail in the crown court, or in preliminary and enforcement hearings.

“We will make as much use of our current technologies as possible, and are working urgently to increase our capacity, so we can keep our courts and tribunals running smoothly.”