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The New Virtual Court

 Introduction of the Virtual Court.

The Prisons and Court Bill published in February 2017 provides a revolutionary new way of handling guilty pleas to summary, non-imprisonable offences.

Defendants, will receive emails from the Virtual Court setting out details of their charge and telling them what the standard statutory penalty is if they intend to plead guilty.  It is meanwhile anticipated that this court will deal with fairly minor criminal infringements such as failing to pay for a train ticket.

Innovative though online criminal convictions for minor financial misdemeanours may be, they will not be as dramatic as the changes the proposed bill will make in Civil Family and Tribunal Proceedings.  The Bill does not actually create an Online Court as such though it does create an Online Procedure Rule Committee with power to make rules of court and tribunal procedure rules.

The Bill also makes detailed provision for the use of live video or audio links in specified Criminal Proceedings.  Matters that are currently dealt with in a physical court room will be conducted in a “virtual enabled” hearing where some of the participants are elsewhere or, in a “fully virtual” hearing where there is no physical court room.

Whereas it is anticipated that these fully “Virtual Hearings” will initially deal with minor transgressions it will of course be interesting to see whether a new system evolves which has major ramifications for all Civil and Criminal Courts.

If you have any queries in relation to any Civil Family or Criminal matter call us now at Sinclairslaw on 02920 388398

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