Video conferencing

Video conferencing in courts

Video Conferencing (VC) enables any person who has an interest in court proceedings to be involved in a hearing from a remote location. In its simplest form, a witness at a remote location may give his/her evidence via a video link to the court with one screen and one camera in the courtroom.

The technology needed to establish a video link is relatively simple. A screen and a camera with a microphone is required at each location. Any form of screen can be used. An ISDN telephone line supplied by BT is used to transmit the pictures and sound electronically between the locations. Connection is made by dialling the telephone number allocated to the relevant location.

The Access to Justice Act, 1999 allows VC to be used for civil hearings, e.g. case management conferences, ancillary relief hearings, overseas or remote witnesses or in any civil cases in which the court directs the use of video and the parties involved consent to its use.

The courts listed below have VC equipment and it is possible for every location to connect to any other location on the list. For example, VC equipment in Birmingham can be used to give evidence in a matter being heard in Plymouth. It is also possible for multiple locations to be connected e.g. Bournemouth, Leeds and Manchester can be used to take evidence for a matter being heard at The Royal Courts of Justice in London. The network is extremely flexible.

Video conferencing now available in Care Centres

To address the problem of delays in child care and supervision cases Video Conference (VC) technology in Care Centres (Care Centres have jurisdiction to hear Public Law Children Act Cases) is now available. The availability of expert witnesses has been identified as one major cause of delay and the VC equipment will provide the courts with greater flexibility for when and how expert witnesses (particularly medical) are required to give evidence.

All 53 Care Centres across England and Wales have now been equipped with mobile VC units and DCA is in the process of developing a national directory of suitable sites at hospitals, medical institutions and universities that could be used by expert witnesses. This means HMCS will now be able to arrange hearing dates and conclude cases more quickly and ensure that the costs to the parties and the public purse will be reduced. It will also mean that experts will have to spend less time travelling to and from court and less time waiting for their case to be heard.

Those wishing to make use of the VC equipment should make their request to the court before the Case Management Conference (CMC) or as soon as practicable before the full hearing. At the CMC itself any necessary practical issues can then be agreed, such as remote location, who will administer the oath and any other special arrangements required to ensure that witnesses are able to give their evidence freely.

Site Site Contact Name Telephone Number
Barnet County Court Jane Billyack 020 8371 7108
Basingstoke County Court Linda Thompson 01256 318 222
Birmingham Crown & County Courts Andrea Lloyd 0121 681 3120
Blackburn County Court Anne Wright 01254 680654
Bournemouth Combined Court Douglas Bloom 01202 502 890
01202 502 879
Brighton County Court Vicki Wilton 01273 811332
Bristol County Court Jerry Fowler/Rebecca Cobbin

0117 3664821
0117 3664880

Caernarfon County Court Anwen Wiliams 01286 684600
Cambridge County Court Graham Jone / Susan Bolton 01223224 500
Canterbury County Court Sue Nicholas 01227 819213
Chelmsford County Court Janet Littlewood 01245 264670
Cardiff Civil Justice Centre Tracey Davies 029 2037 6483
Carlisle County Court Peter Cowen 01228 520 619
Chester Civil Justice Centre Julie Burgess 01244 404 241
Court of Appeal, Civil Division Sharon Whitfield 020 7947 6891
020 7947 6917
Coventry Combined Court Neil Turfrey 0247 6536194
Derby County Court Mrs Linda Morris 01332 622595
Exeter County Court Becky Inglis 01392 415324
Guildford County Court Julie Eade 01483 595211
Hove Trial Centre Peter Dingle 01273 229 200
Ipswich County Court Robert Chester 01473 298412
Kingston on Hull County Court Anne Dawson 01482 621144
Kingston-on-Thames County Court Joseph Barnes 020 8546 8843
Lancaster County Court Stephen Sainsbury 01524 68112
Leeds Combined Court Micheal Binns 0113 254 8616
Leicester Crown and County Courts Jane Wainwright 0116 222 5899
Lincoln County Court Richard Harrison 01522 883 206
Liverpool County Court Gill Best 0151 296 2200
Luton County Court Natalie Robinson 01582 506700
Manchester Civil Courts of Justice David Morecroft 0161 954 1737
Medway County Court Pauline Rockett 01634 810721
Milton Keynes County Court Caroline Beechey 01908 302803
Newcastle Combined Court David Bean 0191 201 2055
Newport (Gwent) County Court Jan Mills 01633 227171
Northampton County Court Bernie Norton 01604 470453
Norwich County Court Chere Goddard
01603 728244
Nottingham County Court Nicola Conlin 0115 910 3588
Oxford County Court Neil Spiker 01865 264215
Peterborough County Court Mary Dew 01733 355421
Plymouth Combined Court Pam Reedes 01752 677 489
Pontypridd County Court Richard Roberts 01443 490800
Portsmouth County Court Yvonne Moorecroft 02392 893015
Reading County Court Neil Ashby/Helen Bateman 0118 9870561
Rhyl County Court Tracey Sullivan 01745 352940
Royal Courts of Justice Roger Little Hazel 020 7947 6581
020 7947 6357
Sheffield County Court David Schofield 0114 2812473
Stoke on Trent County Court Amanda Lowndes/Claire Barlow 01782 854019
Sunderland County Court Stephen Preen 0191 5680758
Swansea County Court Andrew Morris 01792 484 706
Swindon Combined Court Sally Snowdon 01793 690 574
Taunton County Court Graham Haines 01823 335972
Teesside Combined Court Russell Pennell 01642 343 047
Telford County Court Mrs Lorna Colling 01952 291045
Truro County Court Alex Maker 01872 222340
Warrington County Court Tony Allman 01925 256700
Watford County Court Colin Douglas 01923 699429
Wolverhampton County Court Ian Lowbridge 01902 481085
Worcester County Court Tim Good 01905 7307800
York County Court Diane Stephenson 01904 629935
HM Courts & Tribunals Service

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