House of Lords Constitution Committee Inquiry into the Constitutional Implications of Covid-19: August 2020

10 October, 2022 | 1 minute read


1. Serious consideration should be given to rolling out virtual technology for hearings that relate to pre-trial and procedural issues as the norm in both civiland criminal jurisdictions.

2. The Lord Chief Justice and Lord Chancellor should review urgently how openjustice in criminal cases can be more effectively protected, including by giving consideration to making an order under Section 32 of the Crime and Courts Act to allow courts to provide remote access to the public, subject to safeguards.

3. Serious consideration should be given to publication of transcripts ofjudgements handed down orally and sentencing remarks both during the Pandemic and long-term. The judiciary and HMCTS should be working towardscomprehensive publication of all such judgements in England and Wales.

4. Listing data should make clear that members of the public as well as media are able to attend remote hearings.

5. Evaluation should be undertaken and statistics kept on the number of casesthat have been heard in private during COVID-19, both under the CPR 39.2(3) and existing Civil Procedure Rules, to assess whether remote hearings have had an impact on application of privacy orders.

6. The proposed Virtual Fraud Court should be implemented speedily to ensure that fraud and other economic crime cases can be managed effectively.

7. Given the potential huge increase in economic crime as a result of COVID-19,urgent consideration should be given to creating a ‘ticket’ for judges to workon economic crime, ensuring judicial training and expert support in this area

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