The Evolution of Audio Visual Technology in Courts

Fitting Image have gained many years of experience in the legal sector, implementing and maintaining legal Audio Visual technology in courts across Ireland  for the Courts Service of Ireland since 2007.

Since the 1980s, Video Evidence and Video Link technology has been used in one form or another. Initially, it involved bringing a video recorder and a monitor to display in court. Then, as is the case now, the most common use of Video Evidence Display was to show CCTV footage.

With time, Video Link was eventually added, enabling participants to appear in court remotely, on a video conference call. The original, and most important, use of this technology was to allow prisoners to appear at remand hearings, without needing to physically come to court. As the purpose of remand hearings are simply to set a date for the full trial of the accused, the option to carry this out remotely can save the courts on significant costs involved in transporting prisoners securely to the court, in order to appear for a remand hearing that may only last approximately five minutes.

In addition to the above, Video Link is used extensively to allow Expert Witnesses to appear remotely in court. Typically, the Expert would appear from another court location in another country. This type of call uses “Systems Based” video conferencing technology, which has been used worldwide for approximately the last thirty years.

With the increasing popularity of video communications apps, Fitting Image began working with The Courts Service to enable witnesses to appear remotely in court using their own devices. This requires a secure environment, and the court must have full control over who may attend, and when they can be seen and heard.

At the onset of the pandemic, Fitting Image had systems in place and on live trial to allow courts to proceed with attendees appearing remotely on their own devices. This has since expanded rapidly, with some cases having around 50 or more contributors attending the courts remotely. Each case is connected to an actual courtroom, where the Court Registrar will typically be located. This also allows for Digital Audio Recordings (DAR) to be made.

Fitting Image uses a video conferencing solution which allows the “Systems Based” video conferencing codecs used in courts throughout the world to connect the individual user’s devices, for example their laptop or phone, whilst retaining full secure control over the call. Calls can be recorded and video evidence can be played back in court and viewed by the participants on the remote call. In some cases, this may also include calls from witness rooms.

With the continued expansion of remote courtroom sessions, the demand for Video Link systems has also increased rapidly. This growing demand has led Fitting Image to increase staffing levels, in order to keep up with the increasing volume of work.

The Courts Service of Ireland trust Fitting Image’s expertise to provide reliable AV solutions for the sensitive nature of their work. If you or your law firm would like help with your AV solutions, contact Fitting Image today, at 01 460 2112.