On 4 June 2021, the Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland QC MP, spoke at the Law Society, where he reflected on the justice system’s response to the pandemic and outlined the Ministry of Justice’s post-pandemic recovery plans for the justice system.
In his speech he spoke, in particular about:-
- The pandemic “cementing” the need for remote hearings to be made available. Going forward, the MoJ wants the effective use of audio and video technology to remain an “integral part” of the justice system.
- The use of remote hearings can increase court capacity, make the process “less intimidating” for vulnerable people, reduce the time spent travelling to a hearing and improve transparency in the justice system.
- Judges should have the choice and flexibility in how they use audio and video technology, where appropriate. Changes will need to be carefully considered and discussed with the Lord Chief Justice and Rule Committees.
- The nature of dispute resolution should be redefined, and courts should be used as a last resort.
- A “fresh look” needs to be taken at how justice works, by looking at how the court experience can be improved for all users and building on what has been learned over the last 15 months, as to how new technology and “radical new methods” could improve the justice system of tomorrow.