Exploring the Case for Virtual Jury Trials during the COVID-19 Crisis: An Evaluation of a Pilot Study Conducted by JUSTICE
49 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2021
Date Written: April 15, 2020
In light of the significant impact COVID-19 is having on the operation of the courts, JUSTICE are concerned to ensure that access to justice and fair adjudication can be maintained. In early April 2020, JUSTICE organized two experimental virtual jury trials with the support of AVMI and Corker Binning solicitors. These were designed to explore whether it will be possible for a fair trial to take place when all of the participants were appearing from different physical locations. Volunteers to play the various roles in the trial were recruited from amongst JUSTICE members. This report has been commissioned by JUSTICE with the following objectives: to evaluate how well the technology worked in the virtual trials; to compare the conduct of the trial with traditional face to face hearings; to consider whether there are any benefits to virtual trials; to appraise whether there were any problems that arose which might give cause for a legal challenge; and to evaluate what lessons might be learnt from the two virtual trials conducted to date.
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