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SA embraces future with ‘virtual’ courtrooms

SA embraces future with ‘virtual’ courtrooms

Judge Elizabeth Bolton

For the first time, South Australia will allow lawyers to appear in court from their private offices via ‘desktop audio visual link’ instead of in person.  

The Courts Administration Authority began a trial of audio visual link (AVL) software last week, allowing a lawyer to appear virtually while the defendant physically attended the Magistrates Court.  

Witnesses, judges and defendants often make use of AVL but, until now, lawyers always had to appear in person.

Chief Magistrate of South Australia, Judge Elizabeth Bolton (pictured), said the AVL policy would reduce travel time and waiting time within the court precinct.

“We expect there may be concerns expressed about the use of desktop AVL. All technology can challenge a culture and sometimes can lead to initial inefficiency.

 “The purpose of this pilot is to assess what concerns there may be and whether they can be surmounted to the satisfaction of all relevant court users and the Court,” she said.

In the future, the court expects the new AVL software to be used in cases where neither the lawyer nor the defendant can appear in person.

Law society president Rocco Perrotta told ABC news the new system would make it easier for lawyers to represent regional clients and would be a great cost saving for defendants.  

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