From today, all of Scotland’s sheriff courts will be able to conduct civil proofs, debates, evidential and fatal accident inquiry hearings virtually using the WebEx video platform.
Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service has been rolling out the WebEx capability already used in the Court of Session, Sheriff Appeal Court, Personal Injury Court (ASSPIC) and increasingly for tribunal hearings, including the Upper Tribunal.
Pilot hearings including proofs, debates and FAIs have already taken place with input from the judiciary, SCTS staff and legal practitioners to test and develop the WebEx procedures and guidance. The use of virtual hearings from today will extend the opportunities for complex cases to be heard where evidence is required to be presented to court.
Sheriff Principal Aisha Anwar of South Strathclyde, Dumfries & Galloway commented: "Following the success of Sheriff Principal Stephen’s use of WebEx for virtual hearings in ASSPIC and the Sheriff Appeal Court, and Sheriff Principal Pyle’s use of WebEx for fatal accident inquiries, the sheriffs principal have worked closely with the digital teams and SCTS staff to manage the rollout of virtual hearings throughout the sheriff courts in Scotland.
"Civil practitioners and sheriffs have readily embraced the pilot exercises which have allowed us all to learn what works best and how to refine digital hearings. The sheriff courts restarted civil business very quickly after the lockdown, and the ability to conduct more video hearings will improve the experience for all court users."
Information for participants in virtual court hearings is available at this link.