Will we ever have online courts?

In today’s world, everything is digitalized. From a simple record search to online applications and virtual meetings. But does this mean that if we introduce online courts, we will benefit from them? There have been minor changes in procedures that have been digitized, and they have had a significant impact on the process itself. There are pros and cons to this situation, like any other.

In my opinion, an online court in the 21st-century world would look something along the lines of a “board meeting” and a “police interrogation.” It would have to be on a secure connection and hacker-free environment. All the access to evidence must be digitized, and the respective positions of the justice system would have to be trained for this position. A new network of assisting advisors would have to be created to watch over for any problems we may encounter. They would have to be able to resolve these problems in a moment’s notice should they occur.

In the UK, some organizations are already implementing new court reforms and digitized programs. Although the thought of an online justice system is still in progress, some changes, that will bring us one day closer to this goal, are being made.

Advantages

  • Eco-friendly – by making appeals online, rather than on paper. It would be more productive, and less paper would be used.
  • Faster validation – if all the paperwork is submitted online, the requests would be faster approved or disapproved.
  • Online case files – if they were digitized, they would be accessed easier. The process of reviewing evidence will be faster, and we wouldn’t have to wait for sensitive files to arrive at our location.
  • Ability to attend court even if you are abroad.
  • People summoned for jury duty can confirm their attendance or ask to be excused immediately.
  • Video link hearings – they have already been used in some cases mostly to reduce travel costs.
  • If court hearings are online and not in a courtroom, this will make the hearing process longer than 1 day. It may give the parties and the judges time to consider everything correctly instead of the typical single day hearing.
  • Improved data storage and archiving.

Disadvantages

  • The cross-examination or oral evidence is best judged in a courtroom, where we can see how the evidence is being presented and read. Body language and other non-verbal forms of communication are also present there.
  • The danger of evidence being hacked and the outcome of a case being predetermined.
  • A witness testimony can’t quite be heard the same way it would in a courtroom. So it would make the lawyers’ jobs harder because the jury wouldn’t be able to read the witness’ body language and lying would be more comfortable.
  • Not all people are internet savvy. And not everyone has access to a computer or a mobile device. This means that some groups may feel discriminated against. An online court would be something these two groups of people will not be able to understand/use.
  • The danger of personal data to be compromised.