The report below aims to research problems related to audiovisual links in the setting of a courtroom. With an ever increasing rise in the level of technology, better systems are bound to be invented to facilitate communication in various contexts. Communication allows people separated by a vast distance communicate and pass the right message. As a result, this report aims to address the main issues affecting audio visual links in Australia’s courtroom. Some methods will be applied to identify the potential problem involved with using audiovisual conferencing technology which in turn allows people to participate in a trout proceeding without having to be in the courtroom.
Table of Contents
Executive Summary. 1
Literature Review.. 3
Analysis of Process. 3
Overview of Methodology. 5
Primary Research. 6
Secondary Research. 6
Factors Influencing the Exercise of Preference in Commercial Litigation. 6
Group Processes. 6
The use of a modern type of communication that came about as a result of technology traces its way back from 1980 as it was employed in Australian courtrooms to conduct various criminal trials. As mentioned earlier, the idea had its significant impact as a result of two different developments that came about in the year 1980 (Macdonald, Ros, & Anne 649-979)
The first result came about due to a collapse of a crucial period when various complex white-collar crime investigations and trials were being documented. Consequently, this saw the rise and invention of electronic courtrooms. The second invention came about as a need to provide a means of extracting evidence from witnesses who were away from the presence of courtroom hence gave rise to video conferencing which connected various parts of the court for transparent proceedings.
Considering the fact that over the past years a notable increase in the level of technology has been noted. Consequently. This offers a range of tools which in one way or another can play a significant role in the process of administering justice in different courts. The variety of systems incorporated in the court rooms mostly consists of complex systems to simple systems. As a result of an ever increasing level of technology, some systems are bound to develop hence more, and more capable systems will be accommodated on board for different purposes.
In the recent times, some suggestions have come up regarding the use of technology in the courtrooms. Issues regarding fairness and justice in social problems are drawn to be the reason as to why courts function in a normal way as compared to the presence of technology in the judiciary system. However, a number of courts based in Australia have taken up the first line in ensuring the technology is incorporated in the various courtrooms out of its effectiveness. As a result, this paper aims at establishing the main problem existing in the process of adopting audio visual links in a court setting.
In today’s court setting there is the presence of proper- designed systems that are integrated with the proceedings of a court. All systems have the significant potential involved to improve and provide efficient administration of justice in the setting of a courtroom. Consequently, this achieved by way of allocating resources in an even manner by following a strict schedule. Scheduled involve the load of work to be done by the judge in line with the correct time of the proceedings in court. Particular courtrooms are allocated for individual hearings to avoid confusion.
In the deliberations of a court, various files such as evidence citing the occurrence of different events are present. The technology systems fitted in allows authorized users to access such information from gadgets such as tablets that are usually connected to the main server of the court. A series of jurisdictions regularly opt to use video conferencing technology to conduct duties regarding administering demands and hearing various bail applications. Use of technology comes with a set of benefits such as less cost incurred in transporting and less risk of insecurity.
In trials that involve the use of large documents to run the court proceedings, computerized technology plays a greater role in presenting such evidence (Stepniak 791). The main benefit that comes with the utilization of this systems involves reduced time in preparing for hearings since all the necessary information is usually loaded into the system where authorized users can only access it.
Benefits of these systems include reductions in preparation and hearing time, consequent cost (Wallace 119-121). However, a number of challenges come with the use of these systems. One of the biggest problems affecting audio visual links in the court system of Australia is the cost of installing the technology-based systems in the courts (Wallace 123-125). There are some challenges met in the process of incorporating the use of these technology-based systems in the courtrooms. Some of these difficulties include the need to ensure that there is equity in gaining access to the systems as well as they are compatible and can work from some computers with less or no hitches.
In a court setting the system to be used by the parties – prosecution and defense- have to be compatible with that sensitive information is shared without any technical problems.
The use of such systems in a court setting calls for a skilled and qualified personnel who is in a position to coordinate the various systems used.
Use of audio visual links is considered costly. Besides, it is also inconvenient bearing in mind that most hearings are sufficient regarding verbal communication whenever a witness is present in the courtroom. The evidence is preferred in oral form before the court proceedings to help analyze and cross-examine the details given one by one.
To facilitate the efficiency and use of audio-visual technology into various courtrooms in Australia, the present South Wales State Government in conjunction with other subsequent State Governments as well as the Commonwealth Government have introduced and implemented various laws as far as audio visual links are concerned (Cordato). The law gives the court the necessary mandate to allow any individual to table evidence or present it by way of using the audio visual link from any location within or outside New South Wales.
The following methods were used to analyze existing problem about AVL:
- Conducted a secondary research to determine and analyze the existing problem as far as audio visual links are concerned in the court system of Australia.
- Surveyed and attended hearings in courts located in Australia
- Researched and referred information from journals regarding the growth of technology in the current judicial system.
- Analyzed primary research data to identify the primary problem associated with audio visual links in the judicial court system.
Primary research was conducted at one of the local courts in Australia. Proceedings and hearings of the court were followed to the latter. A number of observations were made in terms the current state of the court. The court was fitted with the systems which were up to par with the current rising level of technology. In a bid to determine the impact of technology in the setting of court room, observations on how fast information and documents reached recipients was observed.. The results made from the observations were used to determine the impact as well as problems associated with audio visual links.
Secondary research was inform of information gathered from a variety of peer-reviewed and articles which illustrated the same type of study in the court systems of Australia. Publications derived from electronic sources were used to depict the nature and relevance of the new court systems across the world.
The Court has a freedom to give permission to use evidence by way of using an audiovisual link. Some factors are assessed by the court to determine whether the use of such technology systems will hinder the administration of justice in a particular case. The group went out to weigh some factors that can be considered into allowing the use of audio visual links basing on the three different branches of witnesses.
As per (Cordato) one of the most recent decisions made by the Supreme Court of New South Wales in Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the Commonwealth Bank filed a request asking that the evidence was to be handled by Mr. Di Gregorio .Mr. Di Gregoria happens to be the officer of the Bank who is in charge of the conduct of necessary files used to hear proceedings. The banks requested that the archive was to be taken to the courtroom by use of audio visual link right from a conference room. However, Justice Garling denied the bank’s request for some reasons:
- The Bank kicked off the proceedings in the Supreme Court of NSW and went ahead to choose it Mr. Di Gregorio as its sole witness. Consequently, this indicates that the cause of complaints is minimal to the extent that it needs use of audio visual links to testify
- The witnesses’ amount of work would not be affected by his rate of personal attendance.
- The witnesses’ evidence surpassed the proof in the documentary which was to prove and support the claim of the bank. A proposal was introduced that the witness would give evidence in response to the evidence collected by the expert which in turn wholly relied on defendants who were to be examined with its content.
- Out of the influence, the judge adopted due to the nature of the case it was more likely to be controversial
Witness Category 2 – A Foreign Witness With Significant Evidence, But Unwilling to Travel to Australia
According to (Cordato) the leading decision in New South Wales on the application of audiovisual links in civil proceedings involved an important case. In this particular case, Justice Austin, a member of the in Supreme Court of New South Wales, took in an application requested by Australian Securities and Investments Commission
The application made involved use of audiovisual link belonging to two witnesses who lived in London but were not compelled to travel and present evidenced in Australia, Sydney. The application had presented before Justice Austin was introduced as an alternative to a letter that had already summoned the two witnesses to the court (Cordato). However, the request made by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission entailed an application for the two witnesses to attend a sitting in London which was to be administered by Australian counsel while in the presence of the trial judge who was to act as the Examiner.
Justice Austin denied the request made by Australian Securities and Investments Commission hence proceeded to put across some reasons as per the approach the court would use seconded by following reasons:
- Given that the evidence was critical as far as ASCI’s case was concerned, there was no candid reason for the witnesses to miss the hearing by way of presenting the evidence. In the event of illness, the court would agree to use of audio visual links for the witness to provide then necessary evidence.
- The assessment of credit will wholly revolve around the responses given by the witness based on the files and documents revealed to him by the cross-examiner. If the court conducted the case by use of credit, the cross-examiner would face a significant disadvantage.
- The management in charge of the documents in the process of cross-examination was discovered that there were to standards involved. The first option delayed the witness from finding the required evidence by citing of page numbers while the second ensured that the copies of all documents were to be kept safe from unauthorized access.
- Various difficulties regarding technology were experienced in term of varying formats and time zones. Consequently, this variation would result in difficulty in solving the case.
- The cost incurred in the process of using audio visual links would lead to losses as and more expenses as the evidence was already present.
After extensive studies in the use of audiovisual links in the court system, a lot of expenditure are incurred hence consumes a lot of capital. However, the system works efficiently and has the maximum security regarding access to files by unauthorized users who may have intentions of tampering with the necessary evidence. During my personal research, I attended a court session whereby systems using technology were present in the court. Use of the system by various officials was rather smooth but faced a lot of challenges regarding coordination. Lack of coordination was led by lack of the scheme in the whole court. The whole court had only one chamber with the installed systems hence judges had to wait for lengthy proceeding to come to an end so as to use the intended court. The process proved to be time-consuming hence called for the system to be incorporated in all sections of the court to prompt fast hearing of the cases and presentation of various pieces of evidence.
Besides, this report made different recommendations as far as the use of audio visual links is concerned in the court system.
- Explain and teaching prisoners how to interpret and use the video link. It involves teaching them various communication skills since they will have to communicate to how with the officer in charge of the judiciary as well as their selected lawyers. They are also enlightened in case of hiccups such as the steps they should take in the event of a technical accident of failure
- Improve the vision of the cameras and corresponding prison video link screens to enable the prisoners to gain a better and also a clearer sight of the courtrooms (Coote).
- Improve the quality of studios in that they are sound proof hence no interruption of sounds from outside can interrupt the sessions. Besides, it helps increase privacy as well as reduce noise from the background.
- Adopt and make casual clothes as that of civilians for use during appearances where important and legal matters such as hearings are conducted.
Coote, Gavin. “We Don’t Want To Be ‘Just A Face On The Screen’: Prisoners On Court Video Links”. ABC News. N.p., 2016. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.
Cordato, Anthony J. “Audio Visual Links For Giving Evidence | Lexology”. Lexology.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 27 Apr. 2017.
Macdonald, Ros, and Anne Wallace. “Review of the extent of courtroom technology in Australia.” Wm. & Mary Bill of Rts. J. 12 (2004): 649-979.
Stepniak, Daniel. “Technology and Public Access to Audio-Visual Coverage and Recordings of Court Proceedings: Implications for Common Law Jurisdictions.” Wm. & Mary Bill Rts. J. 12 (2003): 791.
Wallace, Anne. “Technology and The Judiciary the use of Technology in the Criminal Trial Process.” 4th National Outlook Symposium on Crime in Australia, ‘New Crimes or New Responses’, convened by the Australian Institute of Criminology. 2001.