There has been a lot of commentary around how 2020 became the year that remote operations became an imperative for every organisation. Also, how technology and innovation moved to the forefront of all legal operations as firms adapted to continue their matters under lockdown restrictions.
Our eHearings team quickly innovated new ways to offer our suite of services completely online. This enables virtual hearings with all hearing room components remotely accessible, as well as seamless integration with a physical hearing room, allowing hybrid hearings with both physical and virtual attendees.
Trends in eHearings
In 2020, eHearing technology enabled lawyers to continue their matters remotely during the pandemic. We have seen the emergence of virtual and hybrid hearings on a scale unforeseen. For example, at Law In Order, we conducted over 400 virtual hearings in 2020.
Innovative remote services enabled lawyers to engage in a virtual environment that allowed optimal participation for legal practitioners. Key services include Video Conferencing, Livestreaming, Online Hearing Book, Remote Evidence Presentation and Remote Real-Time Transcription.
Purely online hearings are facilitated by virtual hearing room solutions used in conjunction with secure cloud-based evidence platforms.
Hybrid Trials amalgamate physical and virtual hearing elements, which allows matters to proceed partially in a physical court room with the option of either virtual or physical attendance from participants. Due to travel restrictions and capacity constraints and other concerns related to the COVID-19 crisis, virtual attendance and participation has proved to be invaluable.
Video Conferencing platforms were embraced and used in unprecedented ways. By bringing participants together using any type of device from anywhere in the world, this technology formed the foundation of Law In Order’s virtual hearing service.
Webstreaming hearings has been a long-standing premier service provided by our eHearings team. By enhancing accessibility and engagement, live webstreaming has augmented many of our ongoing Royal Commissions, Arbitrations and Federal Court Trials.
Remote Evidence Presentation has enabled virtual hearings to enjoy the same benefits as having an Electronic Evidence Presenter physically in the hearing room, by integrating an evidence presentation solution with a video conference platform.
Remote Real-time Transcription allows matters to operate without a stenographer physically in the hearing room. This was seldom done prior to the pandemic, but the need for social distancing necessitated this adaptation. Live transcription is provided by remote stenographers and then made easily accessible via the evidence platform, which automatically hyperlinks with the evidence in the digital court book.
Remote live captioning services can be integrated with Law In Order’s webstreaming service, enhancing accessibility for people with hearing disabilities. This is also useful for people watching hearings in noisy environments or those partaking in concurrent video conferences.
Recent Developments at Law In Order eHearings
Law In Order’s eHearings team redefined its role as an electronic legal services provider in 2020 by becoming a global leader in Virtual Hearings services. Our versatility and innovative prominence was proven in the rapid surmounting of all the disruption of 2020, emerging stronger and with more advanced electronic hearing services globally.
Our eHearings team has demonstrated flexibility and adaptability through the transformation of the legal industry as it adjusted to COVID-19 restrictions, working to meet our clients’ needs. Overnight, new remote services were available for clients to ensure all eHearings could accommodate the varying requirements of different legal matters that proceeded through the lockdown period.
There has recently been a fifty percent growth in our eHearings team, partly due to the ongoing increase in demand for virtual eHearing services that was present even before the pandemic.
Our team have implemented new innovations that facilitate the varying requirements of remote work in the legal industries, enhancing online collaboration with document management platforms and virtual hearings.
Providing secure and private solutions within a virtual hearing has been a priority. This allows parties to maintain security of certain sensitive or confidential evidence in private sessions, while maintaining the principle of open justice during a virtual hearing.
New cyber-secure staging environments have been employed for all eHearings evidence platforms, to ensure clients receive the optimal security for their data.
Heightened document security protocols have been designed for virtual hearings to address document confidentiality concerns while also preserving the principle of open justice. Private display workspaces in the evidence platform are created for specific witnesses to securely review documents. This restricts the public’s access to sensitive documents when they are required for witness examination.
Further confidentiality measures can be applied to webstreaming via multiple streams with different degrees of confidentiality. Redaction measures are put in place for confidential content, while participants with confidentiality agreements can view an unredacted stream, allowing parties to manage confidentiality in real-time.
The increase in demand for remote witness services led to the development of our Remote Witness Kit. The Kit is a collection of IT equipment that can be easily transported to the witness’ office or home and contains all the requirements for the remote attendance of a virtual hearing. The quick assembly and disassembly of the Kit provides an efficient solution for situations where the witness has insufficient equipment of their own and/or would like the additional support of having a Law In Order representative on-site during the proceedings.
The Remote Witness Kit is also suitable for isolated or vulnerable witnesses where additional support by a Law In Order technician is required to ensure their technology is supported and peace of mind is ensured during their examination. This guarantees efficiency, safety and security from the participants elected location. In addition, this approach reduces the risk of disruptions and delays during the virtual hearing due to insufficient technology or poor internet network quality.
For more information, contact our eHearings team.