With the assistance of Fitting Image AV Sales Ltd, The Courts Service of Ireland has undertaken a rapid transformation. Cutting edge Audio Visual (AV) technology has been installed in courtrooms to enable safe, secure and cost-effective trials in locations across Ireland. The increased usage of AV technology in courtrooms and in law firms has allowed the Courts Service to continue operations during the pandemic.
There have been many benefits to the Courts Service adopting AV technology. The legal profession responded well to the COVID-19 pandemic and tried to minimise disruption and delay to legal proceedings by utilising technology. Although utilising video conferencing to enable remote court proceedings had already been increasing in popularity in recent years, the inability to safely meet in person due to the pandemic caused a swift and widespread adoption of video conferencing in order facilitate remote court hearings, so as to keep legal processes moving as necessary throughout the pandemic.
The adoption of video conferencing and remote courts challenged traditional assumptions and practices around justice and legal proceedings. However, widespread adoption of AV technology in courtrooms and by law firms also directed this sector towards a positive future of opportunity for improvements in safety, security, accessibility, and equality within the justice system.
During the peak of the pandemic, the priority for courts was adapting to remote hearings, so that they could safely proceed while ensuring they followed national health restrictions, such as social distancing and remote working where possible, emphasising the importance of high quality AV technology in the courtroom.
In the year following the introduction of virtual courts, the Courts Service had reached a milestone of 5,000 virtual court sessions and at the same time announced the introduction of Pexip Infinity as part of the virtual court platform for appropriate cases, enabling the hearing of cases involving more witnesses and affidavits to be heard.
The adoption of this virtual court platform by the Courts Service, the Judiciary, practitioners and the various agencies involved in the courts system, provided a necessary alternative throughout the pandemic, enabling the courts to stay open and operate safely, allowing particular business and cases to continue to move through the system. Commenting on the upgrade, President of the Irish High Court, Justice Mary Irvine said “The Courts Service now has available an additional tool for remote hearings, Pexip Infinity, which addresses many of the concerns raised by parties when contemplating witness actions taking place remotely.”
The Irish Courts Service CEO, Angela Denning, said that “based on initial feedback, our experience to date and that of the judiciary, I would envisage a future of ‘hybrid courts’. A mix of physical and digital courts that would be suitable, to meet the varying needs of our diverse range of users. Covid restrictions, although not welcomed, served to facilitate the disruption courts needed to embrace change.”
The role of courtroom AV and video conferencing in the world of law and justice systems has now firmly established itself, cementing the idea of the virtual and hybrid court. This has forever shifted the landscape of justice and legal proceedings.
The Courts Service in Ireland trust in the expertise of Fitting Image to provide reliable AV solutions for the sensitive nature of their work. If you or your law firm would like help with your AV setup, contact us today at 01 460 2112 for assistance.