Proceedings at all tribunals in the UK will be digitally recorded next year, the senior president has promised in an upbeat vision of computer-based reform. In his annual report, published yesterday, Sir Ernest Ryder says that 'By 2020 I expect to be able to report that the plan to digitally record the proceedings of all reserved tribunals in the United Kingdom has been implemented.'
This is part of a broader digitisation programme being implemented as part of the government's courts reforms. The outcome, a digital tribunal is 'on the horizon', Ryder reports. It will be based around a core of reusable components that will deliver:
- A digital bundle of documents
- Evidence sharing with users, government agencies and both private and public sector bodies
- Digital, telephone and video-enabled case management by judges and their authorised officers who are trained with and supervised by their judges
- Fully video (virtual) hearings and continuous online resolution where the credibility and reliability of oral evidence is not the determining issue and in particular where early neutral evaluation of the documentary materials can lead to earlier resolution without the need to attend a court or tribunal building; and
- New front-loaded preparation and process that is digitally recorded with easy to understand rules, directions, guidance and reasons.
The senior president said: 'This next year will see a firm resolve to create new processes and accessibility that are second to none, as compatible as possible with the best that the courts’ services across all three geographic jurisdictions in the United Kingdom can provide and, most importantly, that provide for the diverse needs of tribunal users to have access to swift, innovative, specialist justice that is comprehensible for the user from their first point of use. '