In the 1990s the Court began using hard-wired videoconferencing equipment for after-hours bail hearings at the Justice Centre, short appearances by people in custody, judges hearing matters from other courthouses, and witnesses testifying from outside a courthouse.
The use of video technology continues to save thousand of prisoner transports each year for persons required to appear in court for preliminary matters who can appear instead by video from a remand or custody centre. It also helps the Court maximize judicial resources by allowing judges and judicial case managers in one courthouse to hear preliminary matters from another. The judge is connected by video link with the distant courtroom, avoiding adjournments and making more effective use of judges’ time.
The need to protect public health during the coronavirus pandemic advanced the Court’s plans to convert to a web-based videoconferencing system. In May 2020 we began using Microsoft Teams, a secure videoconferencing platform, for virtual proceedings that now include:
While not suitable for every type of case or every litigant, video conferencing can play an important part in improving access to justice, particularly in a province as large as BC.