Advocates in favour of remote hearings as temporary measure to see out COVID-19 pandemic

14 Aug

A survey of members of the Faculty of Advocates has found that four in five agree that remote hearings are a useful addition to how court hearings are heard in Scotland.

However, a substantial majority view felt that remote hearings should not, post-Covid-19, be the default. Fifty-six per cent felt that remote hearings should not be the default for procedural work, and fully 75% felt that such hearings should not be the default for submissions. Nearly nine in ten agreed that remote hearings should not be the default for the taking of evidence. 

Advocates also expressed a strong majority view in favour of conditions being used for the use of remote hearings. Over 68% of respondents expressed the view that remote hearings should only be used with the consent of all parties (and the court); perhaps because a similar number (67.5%) consider that it is harder to present an argument remotely than is the case for hearings held in-person. 

On the medium of remote hearings, a clear majority of advocates (70%) also expressed a preference for video hearings over those conducted by telephone.