’diverse’ views on impact of remote hearings during the pandemic

Research shows ’diverse’ views on impact of remote hearings during the pandemic

Research carried out by the University of Glasgow’s School of Law and Ipsos Scotland on the adoption and use of remote hearings during the COVID-19 pandemic reveals a diverse range of views on the perceived impacts on stakeholders, with no consistent opinion on their effect or continued use.

Research carried out by the University of Glasgow’s School of Law and Ipsos Scotland on the adoption and use of remote hearings during the COVID-19 pandemic reveals a diverse range of views on the perceived impacts on stakeholders, with no consistent opinion on their effect or continued use.

The ’Civil Justice System’s Pandemic Response’ project was commissioned by the Scottish Government’s Justice Analytical Service and the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service.

It sought to evaluate the changes made to civil justice processes and procedures in response to the pandemic, and to provide a broader evidence base to inform future decisions regarding the use of specific pandemic measures, such as online hearings.

Remote hearings were seen as having potential benefits for certain groups of vulnerable court users, as well as advantages in terms of time, cost and comfort for involved parties and professionals.

Findings indicate that the adoption and use of remote hearings varied considerably between different court and tribunal settings, with diverse views on the perceived impacts of remote hearings on parties, their representatives, clerks and the judiciary.

Common challenges were identified in terms of technical problems, digital literacy barriers and challenges around communication.

Suggestions for improvements to remote hearings and other pandemic measures to better ensure access to justice for service users centred around resourcing; technological issues; access to information; enhanced training and guidance; and considerations around emotional support for parties.