Live links in criminal proceedings

Part of Prisons and Courts Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:45 pm on 18th April 2017.

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Photo of Nick Thomas-Symonds Nick Thomas-Symonds Shadow Solicitor General 5:45 pm, 18th April 2017

This group of amendments seeks to require courts to give reasons for issuing live link directions rather than reasons for not issuing them. Our position is straightforward: we do not want a “digital by default” system to arise. We believe that the best method of achieving justice is having all participants in the same room. We suggest that that is a simple, well established proposition on which we should all be able to agree.

The amendments would still allow live links where appropriate, but they would build into the Bill an assumption in favour of the physical majesty of the courtroom rather than of digital technology being used most of the time. I suggest that the amendments would create the right balance in our court system, so that courts are able to utilise new technology when it is appropriate to do so but we do not lose sight of the fact that having all participants in the same room is the most appropriate way of producing a just outcome.