Christina Rees Shadow Minister (Justice):
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what estimate she has made of the proportion of cases that will take place in virtual hearings in each jurisdiction in each of the next five years.
Oliver Heald The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice:
We are investing close to �1 billion to reform and digitise our courts and tribunals, and improve the experience of our users. We are already using technology such as video and telephony to enable more flexible working across all jurisdictions, particularly in crime.
In future, where appropriate, some proceedings will be dealt with entirely online without the need for a hearing. Where a hearing is still required, some hearings will be moved out of the traditional courtroom and conducted by video-conference or telephone.
There will always be a place for the solemnity of the physical court room for the most serious and complex cases, and will make greater use of technology to support these hearings in future.
The most appropriate mode of hearing will be subject to judicial discretion, and so we are unable to provide estimated volumes for virtual hearings in future.