The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published an interim report which covers:
- the use of video-links in the criminal justice system
- how the use of video-links impacts disabled people
- recommendations to the UK Government
The key findings related to the existing widespread use of video link but many apply with equal force if not more so to the use of videoconferencing platforms to conduct the entire hearing. A summary in a blog on the transparency project summarised findings on including people with mental health and other impairments as follows:
- opportunities to identify impairments and make adjustments are lost or reduced when a defendant appears in court by video-link rather than in person.
- both people and behaviours can be easily misunderstood over remote technology.
- It is “less easy for the court to identify if somebody is confused, or unable to pay attention, or whatever else it may be, because you are a little remote figure on a TV screen”
- being alone for a video hearing, without support, can be difficult for some people.
- “We found that for many people with these impairments, a video hearing would not be suitable”.