Video hearings extend access to justice

Using video, people can now attend a court or tribunal hearing without travelling to a court building. 

This also applies to council staff who attend hearings as part of the services they provide locally – from planners attending the Property Tribunal in respect of compulsory land purchases, to children’s services teams involved with family courts. 

Video hearings played a big part in keeping justice moving throughout the pandemic, and it is now common for all or some participants to not attend their hearing in person if it is appropriate. 

From mid-May to December 2020, audio or video hearings accounted for just more than half of all hearings. Use of video, at the discretion of a judge, will continue to play a part in the justice system. 

Attending a hearing remotely is safe, convenient and economical. It can reduce stress and, for some, remove the worry of being in a room with people they are in conflict with. It reduces travel, benefiting participants and the environment. 

“Attending a hearing remotely is safe, convenient and economical

For local authorities, attending a hearing from a local office may be more convenient, and allows staff time to be used more efficiently. 

HM Courts and Tribunals Service is introducing a new service to support video hearings, and local authorities need to be ready. It is easy to use for staff, but your IT team will need to check their settings to avoid disruption to hearings or delays in important decisions being made – for example, in relation to issues such as:

  • applications for the discharge of patients detained in psychiatric hospitals
  • appeals against special educational needs decisions
  • compensation for the compulsory purchase of land
  • employment disputes.

Local authorities play an important part in court and tribunal hearings and need to be prepared. You can do this by alerting your IT team to the advice. There is also step-by-step guidance or contact us directly by emailing VHImplementationTeam@justice.gov.uk.

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