Superb new post from Penelope Gibbs at Transform Justice on the potential implications of virtual courts and remote access of trial processes. The argument is shaped by the Wandsworth discussions, and reflects on the potential benefits and (somewhat more intangible) dangers of new media of justice:
“I am not conservative, and think technology and virtual courts could improve the justice system hugely, but if processes are being introduced mainly to save money and for the convenience of defendants, witnesses or practitioners, I fear they may lead to ill informed decisions and minor miscarriages of justice.”
The other aspect of the discussions at Wadsworth was the ability for public scrutiny of online or virtual interactions (in contrast to the kinds of scrutiny that is possible in a conventional court setting). Others disagreed, suggesting that digital interactions are potentially more open as they can be recorded and archived for later consultation. In this sense the question of the terms of access, the format and the future-proofing of these archives become central questions of justice.
Alex Jeffrey, January 2017