Mark Thorley, Scottish qualified solicitor and Director of leading Edinburgh legal aid law firm Thorley Stephenson, comments on the importance of technology in courts in Scotland and indeed across the world:-
As a consequence of the pandemic, and in order for court business to continue, technology requires to be embraced.
Now that restrictions are lifting the hope is that technology will continue to be used in the courts.
Much of the civil business has now gone online. From a court user’s point of view this must assist. It means that parties to court cases can be “in court” from their laptops, whether it be at work or at home with no need for parties to attend at court.
Now that is not to say that there are some cases that parties need to be at court. Where evidence is to be led that always must remain an option but the courts have become much more efficient as a result of the use of technology.
Indeed the recommendation from the Virtual Trials National Project Board is that every sheriffdom across Scotland should have a dedicated virtual summary court for domestic abuse cases. The key advantages were seen as making it easier for witnesses to give their evidence but also reducing the need for individuals to travel to court.
This is the way ahead. Courts have now got to deal with a large backlog of cases. The way to do so will be through technology.