The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service has announced that new systems have been set up to maintain civil justice during the lockdown.
Operating as a virtual court under the CISCO WebEx video conferencing platform, with a three-judge bench. Two channels will be available to each party for counsel and instructing solicitors.
Multiple channels will also be available to media and interested persons to view the entire virtual court proceedings. With initial configuration and internal testing complete, parties involved in the first appeal hearings will be invited to take part in testing and familiarisation over the next few days.
SCTS is also increasing its capability for judges and clerks in the Outer House to work remotely and will be issuing further information later this week on restarting priority areas of Outer House business using telephone conference facilities.
In the Sheriff Court, a system is being piloted which will enable all legal representation for custody and remand cases to take place remotely using telephone links, removing the need for physical attendance by solicitors or accused. SCTS will also introduce video links for legal representation in custody trials. This will be rolled out on 21st of April and full guidance will be published this week.
Civil business in the sheriff courts is currently limited to urgent and necessary cases during the lockdown period. The courts are making use of telephone conferencing to support urgent business and continue to encourage the use of written submissions.