Virtual hearings, as the name suggests, mean that a hearing is held on virtual platforms such as Google Meet, Zoom and Webex. It simply means that some of the attendees that are supposed to be attending the hearing are not at the physical venue. They can join the hearing using the virtual platforms mentioned using their smartphones, laptops or any type of gadget that can support the platform being used. In the pandemic era especially, there are quite a number of benefits that can be obtained since the implementation of virtual hearings.
What Is a Virtual Hearing?
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on many businesses and organisations. The court is also affected by the pandemic, hence why virtual hearings are introduced to ease the process and all the attendees involved. Even the number of jury trials and the trials as well were reduced due to the pandemic. The Zoom application is very popular among them because of its accessibility and features. Court matters and trials such as arbitrations, mediations and meetings can be conducted using this platform too.
The Pros of Virtual Hearing
Everything comes with its own pros and cons. So does this virtual hearing. Although this is not a new technology, it is new in the court system, hence there are a few pros to having this.
Virtual platforms contribute a lot to saving more money and energy. Those who are involved wouldn’t have to travel and this would save not only their travel expenses but also their precious time. Of course, there is a need to spend on setting up the hearing, but it wouldn’t require a huge amount of money, unlike the physical hearing.
Since the pandemic hit, there have been 536 million cases reported up until today. Those who are infected are not allowed to leave their house unless in case of emergencies. Virtual hearing allows people who are supposed to attend the hearing to utilise the technology by joining the online meeting. All they need to have at their home are a smartphone or laptop and a secure internet connection.
- Increases Safety
Court trials can be very wild. You might have heard of violent behaviour that occurred during a hearing. Virtual hearing can avoid this kind of unwanted incident and reduce the risk of infection, especially during the pandemic. If a virtual hearing is conducted, they wouldn’t even have to step out of their house so their safety will be protected.
The Cons of Virtual Hearing
We have been told about the pros of virtual hearing, so now let’s find out what are the cons.
- Privacy Issue
This is the ultimate concern when conducting any online virtual meeting. Your privacy might be breached by other people during the hearing. It is supposed to be private and confidential, but sometimes family members or anyone else can easily hear the content of the hearing. The person who is responsible might would be taken legal action against him or her due to this matter.
- Irresponsible Use of Virtual Platform
When you go online, it is not guaranteed that your data would be protected. Irresponsible people such as hackers might use this chance to interrupt the session. This is also one of the prominent concerns that the court should not take lightly.
- Inconvenience for Court’s Staff
There might be some problems encountered by the staff such as difficulties to explore the software features and internet connection problems. These can cause the hearing to be interrupted and more time is needed just for a single hearing.