Pandemic prompts global ‘remote courts’ initiative

UK evangelists for digital justice have set up what they hope will become a worldwide collaborative effort to accelerate the implementation of online courts. Remote Courts Worldwide involves the Society for Computers and Law, the UK LawTech Delivery Panel, and Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service, its founders announced today. 

The initiative is the brainchild of Professor Richard Susskind, president of the Society for Computers and Law, adviser to the lord chief justice. 

Richard Susskind

‘It’s time to come together, globally, to accelerate the introduction of remote hearings by judges,’ Susskind said. ‘We have no choice. Physical courts are closing. There’s little point in lamenting any lack of past investment nor in predicting that the technology will fail. Let’s make it happen. We must seize the moment and come together to accelerate the development of new ways of delivering just outcomes for court users.’

Susskind made a similar call in his latest book Online Courts and the Future of Justice. However the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis has already prompted HMCTS to take more radical steps than Susskind was proposing – to some controversy – last year. 

Susan Acland-Hood, chief executive of HM Courts & Tribunals Service said she is ‘pleased to support this important initiative. In these challenging times, it is vital to ensure that technology is used as a power for good; removing barriers and helping people gain access to justice safely and efficiently.’


*The Law Society is keeping the coronavirus situation under review and monitoring the advice it receives from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Public Health England.


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