A Lawyer’s Perspective: The Impact of Video Conferencing on Court Proceedings
The Government’s decision to invest approx £1 billion into modernising our judicial proceedings has been met with mixed perspectives from all parties who will be affected by this move.
According to Deloitte, there is going to be a 39% reduction in legal sector jobs over the next two decades due to automation.
Lawyers are under the same pressure to keep up with modern tech and capitalise on increasing efficiency while keeping prices low. Some are taking this in stride. For example, the Law Society has joined forces with Barclays to open a legal tech lab, in an effort to try and bridge the gap between emerging LawTech innovation and major law firms.
Previous programmes within this modernisation drive have failed to deliver on the promise of effective automation, The Common Platform Programme had the intention of creating a unified platform across the criminal justice system to allow the Crown Prosecution Service and courts to more effectively manage cases. However, many feel that hundreds of millions of pounds have been wasted due to the mismanagement.
The Annual Law Firms’ Survey 2018 found that 100% of the top ten law firms and 63% of overall respondents view technology as a key challenge facing the legal sector over the next two years. When technology does preval, law firms may lose out on payments, as clients can now use technological solutions to problems that law firms would usually charge for. For example, the innovate Docusign, allows you to sign legally binding documents wherever you are, with no need for the presence of a lawyer.
Another added complication, specifically with video links is the news story of a court in Kent, where they discovered that a secret listening room had been created in which a member of court staff sat all day checking that all the video links were working. This means that confidential conversations held in the courtroom had been overheard by staff and a serious breach of trust has occurred.
However, when used effectively and within the restrictions of client confidentiality for example, by using a well respected company such as Eyenetwork, video links can be an amazing solution to witness intimidation. Jane Campbell, a partner at Makin Dixon, one of two law firms involved in a pilot which enables domestic abuse victims to participate in hearings by video link, said: “Accessing the hearing has made a real difference to our client. She was a referral from victim support who commented how convenient it was for the client. The victim was too scared to go home last night and doing this over video has really made a positive impact.”
Introducing video links into the law sector can also improve lawyers everyday lives, as it can allow them to bill more hours, pass reduced costs onto their clients, while also save time and money on travel and accommodation. While the acceptance of Cloud computing and big data also frees up the time of IT staff and the automation of client databases allows law firms the chance to identify re-marketing and upselling opportunities.
Others within the law sector are also welcoming the technological changes within the UK. Alan Barrett, Head of IT at TWM comments, “Although we have a heritage dating back to 1799, we are a very modern and digitally ambitious firm which understands the critical role technology can play in driving professionalism and commerciality.”
There a clear benefits to embracing technology within the judicial system from a lawyers perspective but there are also issues which need to be solved through introducing clear guidelines and restrictions. One solution to ensuring the security of video links is by using our services here at Eyenetwork. We are a company who has over 20 years experience helping the CPS, HMCTS, police and over 6000 solicitors setup and connect video links to courts for witness testimonies and hearings.
With no limit to the number of meetings or participants and simple to use scheduling through Outlook its ideal for pre & post case discussion, court hearings or team meetings. Our legal cloud solution enables legal teams to connect to clients & colleagues anywhere on any device on video & audio securely.
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