The COVID-19 Pandemic, the Courts and Online Hearings: Maintaining Open Justice, Procedural Fairness and Impartiality

Forthcoming (2021) Federal Law Review

UNSW Law Research No. 20-46

25 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2020

See all articles by Michael Legg

Michael Legg

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2021

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing mandated health protections saw courts turn to communications technology as a means to be able to continue to function. However, courts are unique institutions that exercise judicial power in accordance with the rule of law. Even in a pandemic courts need to function in a manner consistent with their institutional role and its essential characteristics. This article uses the unique circumstances brought about by the pandemic to consider how courts can embrace technology but maintain the core or essential requirements of a court. This article identifies three essential features of courts - open justice, procedural fairness and impartiality – and examines how this recent adoption of technology has maintained or challenged those essential features. This examination allows for both an assessment of how the courts operated during the pandemic, but also provides guidance for making design decisions about a technology-enabled future court.

Keywords: COVID-19, communications, technology, pandemic, technology-enabled, future, court, online, hearings, open justice, procedural fairness, impartiality

Suggested Citation

Legg, Michael, The COVID-19 Pandemic, the Courts and Online Hearings: Maintaining Open Justice, Procedural Fairness and Impartiality (2021). Forthcoming (2021) Federal Law Review, UNSW Law Research No. 20-46, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3681165

Michael Legg (Contact Author)

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - Faculty of Law ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

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