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Skype trial keeps justice moving in London

19 Mar 2020 / courts Print

Skype trial keeps wheels of justice turning in London

An entire trial in London is currently being conducted over Skype.

A Court of Protection case is deciding whether a stroke victim in his 70s should continue to receive tube feeding and hydration. The man is both conscious and sentient.

Three-day hearing

The man’s daughter has told the court that she disagrees with his GP about the course of his treatment and the clinical team has referred the matter to court for a three-day hearing.

A judge, lawyers, 11 witnesses, three experts and two journalists have joined calls to the hearing using Skype for Business.

The technology allows all contributions to be seen and heard and also records the hearing.

Full and fair participation

Barrister John McKendrick QC, representing the man’s GP, told the UK Law Society Gazette: “It was very effective, and allowed for full and fair participation by all parties, using a laptop from their home or office.”

“It’s a necessary step – it’s important for the rule of law to ensure the courts continue to function during this crisis.”

Observers believe the technology can keep the court system moving and ensure access to justice.

Legal impediments

Meanwhile, the UK’s Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett of Maldon said this morning that both civil and family courts could move to telephone and video hearings.

“Any legal impediments will be dealt with,” he said.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland