The Judiciary proposes to introduce legislative amendments so that the Court may order remote hearing in civil and criminal proceedings as it sees fit, having regard to all relevant circumstances, as well as the duel requirements of open justice and fairness. The Judiciary seeks views on the above, by way of a consultation arranged in February.
With the assistance of various specialist committees (i.e. the Civil Litigation Committee, the Criminal Law and Procedure Committee, the Constitutional Affairs and Human Rights Committee, the Family Law Committee, the Higher Rights of Audience Committee, the Mental Health Law Committee and the Personal Injuries Committee), the Council considered those issues raised in the consultation and has responded by a submission. Among other things, in the above submission it is stated that while the use of remote hearings for civil proceedings is in principle to be supported, for criminal proceedings, the status quo i.e. physical hearings should remain, as inter alia and fundamentally, a defendant’s right to be tried in person in an open court is an important component of the right to a fair trial.
The full submission of 30 March can be found on the Law Society’s website: