Instead of traveling across Germany for a court hearing, trial participants can increasingly connect via video call. The 31st German IT Court Day in Saarbrücken focused on the challenges of digitization in the legal system.
Landau, September 27, 2022: Court hearings are becoming increasingly digital.
Hearings take place via video call, and in some cases even entire main hearings are held as hybrid proceedings. The digital formats save time, costs and protect the environment. Since the Corona pandemic, the number of digital hearings has increased significantly. However, the legal basis for this existed long before the pandemic: Since 2002, courts have been able to allow the parties to the proceedings to connect via video and audio transmission. This is regulated in Section 128a of the Code of Civil Procedure. At the beginning of 2022, Federal Minister of Justice Buschmann announced a bill to regulate the use of digital technology in criminal proceedings as well.
Digital main hearings are controversial among lawyers and judges. According to a survey conducted by anwalt.de in June 2022, 58 percent of the lawyers surveyed are in favor of court hearings by video conference in principle. However, 90 percent do not consider digital proceedings to be useful for criminal trials.
At the first EDP Court Day after the start of the pandemic, digital general meetings were now a hotly debated topic. Unisys Deutschland GmbH, a global IT service provider and long-standing outsourcing partner of the judiciary in Bavaria, participated in the comprehensive introduction of the electronic file (eFile) in the Free State as part of an overarching project. This year, they presented their solution approach to digital hearings with the software provider Linkando from Landau.
Volker Wiora, CEO and founder of Linkando, says: "The digitization of court proceedings is a sensitive topic. On the one hand, the safety of witnesses and an efficient court procedure from a technical and legal point of view must be guaranteed. On the other hand, in view of climate change, it is difficult to justify that witnesses have to travel across the entire Federal Republic in some cases for a statement of two minutes."
Among other things, the EDP Court Day dealt with issues such as the authentication of witnesses in the context of digital hearings and digital participation options for the public. The question of exactly which court processes could be digitized was also discussed. It would also be necessary to create digital side rooms such as a judge's chambers for consultation and to ensure the safety of witnesses.
"An alternative approach would be digital hearing rooms in district courts," says Thomas Ellegast, Sr. Manager Delivery Business Process Solutions at Unisys. "This would shorten travel distances for witnesses, while still providing a safe environment for testimony. It would also ensure a minimum standard of technological quality for video transmission and hardware used."
Unisys is a global information technology company that helps solve the most pressing IT and business challenges for many of the world's largest companies and government agencies. Unisys employs more than 20,000 people serving customers around the world. For government organizations, the financial sector, and industrial and commercial enterprises, Unisys delivers state-of-the-art integrated solutions, including cloud and infrastructure services, application services, security solutions, and high-end server technology.
Linkando is a meeting management system provider from Germany. As a remote-first company, Linkando uses its own meeting management software every day itself to make meetings more efficient. Linkando's meeting management system enables companies and other organizations to hold efficient and secure meetings by using specialized software and data analysis tools that save time and money and sustainably improve the meeting culture. Unlike other solutions, Linkando integrates with popular video conferencing systems such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Linkando is available worldwide as a cloud-based software-as-a-service product.
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