Video hearings to be trialled in domestic abuse cases

HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has announced that video hearings are set to be tested in domestic violence cases, in a bid to make the process easier for victims.

The video technology is set to be trialled in cases where a victim has made an injunction application against a partner.

Injunction applications are often made by victims of domestic abuse, in cases of intimidation or threat of violence.

The current procedures require victims to travel to court to appear before a judge. However, the trials are testing an alternative method, where victims will instead appear in court via a computer from their solicitor’s office, helping to alleviate the distress of a court appearance.

The trials have been used in six cases so far, with feedback from those being positive.

They feature as part of HMCTS’ £1 billion Reform Programme, which is bringing new technology and modern ways of working to the justice system.

It is the latest step towards the introduction of video hearings in the England and Wales justice system, where all parties appear remotely before a judge based in the court, with the current pilot following testing in tax tribunals last year.

Justice Minister, Lucy Frazer, said: “We are hearing that, even in the early stages, testing fully video hearings are having a positive effect and ensuring the justice system is supporting people at one of the most difficult times in their lives.

“I look forward to seeing the evaluation of this work and ensuring we continue to improve access to our courts through new innovations.

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Alison Green
Alison joined Mackrell.Solicitors in 1989 and qualified as a solicitor in 1991, becoming a partner in the firm in 2010. Her expertise covers matrimonial work, including divorce and the associated financial and children issues; pre and post-nuptial agreements; co-habitation disputes; civil partnership agreements and the breakdown of civil partnerships.