Research examines the impact of new technology used in video court hearings

May 04, 2020

The Video Enabled Justice (VEJ) Independent Evaluation was led by academics from the University of Surrey's Department of Sociology and the Centre for Translation Studies in the School of Literature and Languages. Sponsored by the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne, the report investigated the impact of a new booking tool used in the organisation of first appearance remand hearings in video court. Drawing on data from observation of over 600 video-enabled and traditional in-person hearings in magistrates' courts, and semi-structured telephone interviews with court users and stakeholders, the study provides new insights into the performance of the booking software used in the court listing process, as well as other pertinent features of video courts when compared to traditional in-person courts.

The evaluation found that the impact of the introduction of the booking tool on court processes was benign but relatively modest. Positive effects were identified, such as improved oversight of the court's list. However, resource and infrastructure constraints across the court and police estates inhibited the tool's optimal functioning. Booking software is closely integrated with the audio-visual infrastructure of the courts, and its optimal functionality is only achieved with high quality courtroom AV and suitably trained court staff.

Comprehensive planning across all criminal justice agencies whose staff have a role in the court process was found to be essential in order to reduce disruption to live hearings. An expansion in the number of end-points from which parties at remote locations can join a hearing, as well as improved internet access, was required to enable secure and reliable access to online hearings. The research also suggests that investment in audio-video equipment, as well as attention to the audio-visual environment in both the courtroom and remote video booths (such as those in remand centres and police custody suites), are required to improve the experience of participating in video hearings.

Since the parties involved in video court hearings are at different locations, such hearings pose additional challenges not found in traditional in-person contexts, highlighting the importance of enhanced digital working. These challenges are aggravated when the complexity of hearings increases, e.g. due to the involvement of an interpreter. For interventions such as the booking tool to realise their full potential within the court listing process there is a need to ensure that such investments are developed hand-in-hand with more comprehensive solutions for electronic protocols in court.

Professor Nigel Fielding, lead author and a long-standing researcher in criminology and the justice system, said: "Our report provides valuable insights on video-enabled justice for the court service and court users just as the Covid-19 pandemic seems poised to lead to a dramatic rise in the use of technology and other innovations to ensure the effective continued administration of justice. They will be using existing AV equipment on a 'whatever is to hand' basis, with many courts having relatively basic AV equipment and very few courts being equipped with booking software. We are delighted to be able to offer an evaluation that will help equip those who will deliver and experience this expansion of video-enabled justice with insights that should help ensure benefits are secured and challenges mitigated."
BROADCAST MEDIA, please note: We have a Globelynx camera and can offer live interviews with academics on our own research or other national and international news stories.

For any further media information, please contact Hannah Harrison in the University of Surrey Press Office: 01483 683075

University of Surrey

Related Technology Articles from Brightsurf:

December issue SLAS Technology features 'advances in technology to address COVID-19'
The December issue of SLAS Technology is a special collection featuring the cover article, ''Advances in Technology to Address COVID-19'' by editors Edward Kai-Hua Chow, Ph.D., (National University of Singapore), Pak Kin Wong, Ph.D., (The Pennsylvania State University, PA, USA) and Xianting Ding, Ph.D., (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China).

October issue SLAS Technology now available
The October issue of SLAS Technology features the cover article, 'Role of Digital Microfl-uidics in Enabling Access to Laboratory Automation and Making Biology Programmable' by Varun B.

Robot technology for everyone or only for the average person?
Robot technology is being used more and more in health rehabilitation and in working life.

Novel biomarker technology for cancer diagnostics
A new way of identifying cancer biomarkers has been developed by researchers at Lund University in Sweden.

Technology innovation for neurology
TU Graz researcher Francesco Greco has developed ultra-light tattoo electrodes that are hardly noticeable on the skin and make long-term measurements of brain activity cheaper and easier.

April's SLAS Technology is now available
April's Edition of SLAS Technology Features Cover Article, 'CURATE.AI: Optimizing Personalized Medicine with Artificial Intelligence'.

Technology in higher education: learning with it instead of from it
Technology has shifted the way that professors teach students in higher education.

Post-lithium technology
Next-generation batteries will probably see the replacement of lithium ions by more abundant and environmentally benign alkali metal or multivalent ions.

Rethinking the role of technology in the classroom
Introducing tablets and laptops to the classroom has certain educational virtues, according to Annahita Ball, an assistant professor in the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, but her research suggests that tech has its limitations as well.

The science and technology of FAST
The Five hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST), located in a radio quiet zone, with the targets (e.g., radio pulsars and neutron stars, galactic and extragalactic 21-cm HI emission).

Read More: Technology News and Technology Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to