Whoops, I did it again! Online justice design flaw?

Barclays’ solicitors have had to apologise after one of their solicitors was caught by members of the public in an online court room badmouthing their opponent’s witness, Amanda Stavely. It reminded me of some of the parlour tricks one heard Crown Court advocates might try on TV, if not in real life. That it is not a jury trial reassures me that this one was probably an accident, but I’m guessing Barclays are not that unhappy. The red faced solicitor has taken one for the team.

It did strike me as incredible that this problem has not been designed out. Can’t the advocates and judge operate in one electronic room and the feed from that be in another. Why would Barclays solicitors be audible at any stage to the public save when called upon by the judge to speak?

This seems to me to be a basic and, I would think, easily remedied problem. It might not just be the solicitors who should apologise if it happens again. HMCTS need to look into it?

One thought on “Whoops, I did it again! Online justice design flaw?

  1. Too true, Richard. This was a livestream from a physical Court room but there are also similar risks in our Brave New World of virtual hearings. In situations where one could just have turned and had a quick, quiet word with those sitting in the row behind, I’ve found myself doing things like moving briefly into a different room to take instructions from my team on a different platform, not trusting that muting the feed on Zoom was enough, but also not wanting to be seen to leave the hearing. Not ideal. We’re all on a learning curve as to how best to make a virtual environment replicate physical hearings and, in this case, how to manage the risks of a hybrid between the two.

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