Sentencing via videoconferencing

The UK Court system is moving into the future by delivering justice through the help of modern video conferencing technology.


With the development of technology into almost every branch of modern society a huge step has now been officially confirmed in the judicial sector. From now on, judges will be given the power to sentence criminals over the internet with the help of video conferencing. This advantageous method has been confirmed in order to cut costs and shorten the process of court hearings which are constantly growing in demand.  In recent years video conferencing has already been in use in courts for sentencing minor offences such as fines, community punishments etc., but now judges in the UK have also been authorised to impose tougher penalties through this method of virtual communication.

The new service can help save time and money and it also presents a safer solution for handling individuals who need to make an appearing in court. Instead of having to transport the defendants /witnesses they can now simply attend the trial via something called a ‘live link’. The defendants will be escorted into adapted conference rooms, police stations or vans and buses specially converted to act as a traveling court room.


These video vans will be equipped with modern professional video conferencing equipment and will have curtained windows and sound isolation to achieve complete privacy, therefore transforming into a private mobile room linking with the courtroom. The vans can visit numerous locations in the same day and help a variety of witnesses and defendants to give their statements or present evidence in a way that will be most suitable for each specific case. For example, the van can visit a home of a vulnerable witness and save them the stress and inconvenience of traveling to the court. Some witnesses cannot leave their accommodation for various reasons, so this solution will help them give evidence which could resolve in closing the case and saving thousands of pounds. Also this will allow defendants who are already jailed to attend their own sentencing if they wish to do so.

The programme is still in the process of testing to make sure everything runs smoothly once the service is launched but this will revolutionize the judicial system and modernize the way witnesses across the UK will give evidence and attend court hearings in the future.


Reference: Steve Doughty (2017, February 7). Jailed by Skype. Daily Mail, pp. 26



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