Headlines: July 31st, 2000

Video conference links are being installed in the courts to speed the justice process, reduce costs and minimise inconvenience. The latest development is a pilot project which has set up links from courts in Cardiff and Leeds to the High Court in London. This will allow applications for permission to appeal to be heard without face to face contact.The scope is to be extended to allow people involved in any civil case at the pilot courts to choose to give evidence or make submissions via video-link. It will also provide for court hearings dealing with divorcing couples’ financial arrangements to be heard via video-link. The links will also be used to test other uses of video conferencing in civil, criminal, High Court and tribunal cases.

Pilot video-links have already been set up between prisons and the Crown Court. They have successfully demonstrated how defendants can participate in preliminary magistrate court hearings whilst remaining in prison.