Video Conferencing for The Courts Service of Ireland

The Irish Courts Service is responsible for managing Irish courts, supporting the judiciary, and providing a professional service to all court users. 

High-quality, future-proofed technology applications play an essential role in delivering the services of The Courts Service of Ireland. Since 2007, we have designed, installed, and maintained state-of-the-art video conferencing systems to the Courts in Dublin and throughout the country.

The key requirement is to protect vulnerable witnesses remotely. The Courts need a very specific use of video conferencing, so a hybrid system was designed to make sure that the systems exactly matched the technical and legal demands of the court users.

It was important that all of the major participants in proceedings were able to see and hear what was going on, and that those presenting evidence were able to do so in a safe and secure environment. Another key factor was the requirement to minimize the amount of equipment employed, as the systems were to be deployed in up to eighty courts. The result was the installation of a highly collaborative and intuitive video communications setup for the Irish Courts Service.

The systems installed fall into two categories: video link and video view. The video link systems work in tandem with a local remote witness room, allowing mostly child witnesses to appear without suffering the trauma of being in open court. In addition, the video conferencing element of this system allows the Court to communicate with witnesses in any part of the world or for remand cases to be heard without transporting prisoners around the country.

Liam Walsh, Managing Director of Fitting Image, said,

“The use of video link and video view is still relatively low, as most cases proceed with everyone in the court. However, we are seeing a big increase in the use of the video link for remand cases where huge cost savings are achieved by the remand prisoners appearing on video link from the prisons. It is very satisfying to see this intelligent use of technology.”

The video view systems, which are also incorporated within the video link systems, allow those presenting evidence to show their evidence quickly and efficiently, without disturbing the Courts’ process.

The systems consist of two large screen LCD monitors situated behind the Judge to allow the Jury and the public to view the proceedings. The Judge, Registrar and evidence presenter are provided with monitors and touch panels for control, while there is a video conferencing system in the remote witness room.

Equipment:

  • NEC large display monitors
  • AMX control systems
  • Polycom Video Conferencing Units
  • Panasonic Cameras
  • Extron and Kramer switching and distribution
  • BiAmp Nexia Audio processors

The Irish Courts Service said,

“Video conferencing systems will deliver tangible benefits to the courts and are a further component of our overall modernisation programme. As well as improving services to the judiciary, defendants, solicitors and the Gardaí, this countrywide solution will allow regional court managers and other staff to conduct internal meetings via video conference, with consequent cost reductions. In short, these future-proofed applications will increase the efficiency of court proceedings across the country, while maintaining the integrity of the Irish court system.”