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A look at the pros and cons of hybrid and virtual courts in the era of remote justice


The legal landscape is in the midst of rapid transformation, and global court systems are embracing both a fully virtual and hybrid approach to the administration of justice. It’s a transformation fueled by evolving technology and the need for continuity, a key lesson learned during the Covid-19 pandemic. The shift to court proceedings over video may have begun out of necessity, but today, it’s grown due to its convenience and accessibility – as a means of increasing access to justice for all.


Here's a look at some of the pros of this shift, followed by some cons that must be recognized. And we’ve even got a few tips on how to mitigate those key challenges.



3 pros to virtual and hybrid courts

  1. Increased access to justice:

    A court proceeding conducted over video overcomes geographical barriers and enables people to participate in court proceedings without extensive travel. This is particularly relevant for marginalized communities, people with disabilities, or others who may have economic constraints that restrict their attendance in-person.

  2. Time and money saved: By conducting court proceedings remotely, the process can be streamlined, fewer resources are required for management of the case, and there’s very little logistical overhead. In addition, virtual hearings are easier to schedule and coordinate – giving all participants greater flexibility.

  3. Better safety and security: Remote hearings once protected participants from the spread of Covid-19. Today it’s ensuring that testimonies from incarcerated individuals can happen behind bars, safely and securely. Also, it’s worthwhile to note that prison transfers are costly and complex ordeals, and conducting the proceeding over video reduces this necessity.


3 cons to virtual and hybrid courts (and how to mitigate them)

  1. The digital divide: Remote court proceedings require everyone to have access to an internet-capable device with enough knowledge to log into a court proceeding over a video conferencing solution. To make this as smooth as possible for users, it’s important to use a video solution that doesn’t require the user to download any software or application. The video meeting should be easy to launch from any web browser and deliver a good experience at any internet speed.

  2. Increasing cyber threats: Security is top priority in the virtual courtroom, as a great deal of private and sensitive data is being shared – making it an ideal target for cyber threat actors. For the justice system, this means that the video solution they use must be a secure one, adhering to strict security regulations and offering flexibility in terms of deployment (such as self-hosted to maintain full data control), along with authentication measures to restrict access to the video proceeding.

  3. Complexity of the proceedings: A court proceeding is not necessarily a straightforward process. A single video meeting does not mimic that process either. What if a witness logs on to the meeting too early? What if the judge wants a sidebar with the attorney? This requires a custom video solution designed to meet the unique needs of courts, one that makes it easy to bring in select users to the meeting at a given time, or to easily enter a breakout room for a private conversation, and then seamlessly resume the court session after.


There’s no slowing the digital shift, and court systems are embracing the opportunities to enhance access to justice, uncover new efficiencies, and increase safety and security. But as with any major transition, there naturally will be challenges along the journey. That’s why it’s important to find a virtual meeting solution that’s specifically designed to meet the needs of justice systems, thus enabling courtrooms everywhere to harness the full power and potential of video.


Find out more about Pexip’s custom solution for virtual and hybrid courts.


  • Judicial
  • Government
  • Digital courtrooms
  • Secure Meetings for Justice
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