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Positive feedback for video hearings tested in domestic abuse cases

Testing will continue and be independently evaluated

The Ministry of Justice has reported positive feedback from those involved in six domestic abuse cases in which video hearings have been trialled. Testing will continue in the family and civil courts during the coming months and is being independently evaluated.

The study by HM Courts and Tribunal Service at Manchester Civil Justice Centre permits vulnerable people to appear before the court using a video link from a computer in their solicitor's office, avoiding the distress of appearing in court. Suitable cases are dependent on judicial discretion and those taking part in the tests must have legal representation.

Justice Minister, Lucy Frazer, said:

"We are hearing that, even in the early stages, testing fully video hearings are having a positive effect and ensuring the justice system is supporting people at one of the most difficult times in their lives.

"I look forward to seeing the evaluation of this work and ensuring we continue to improve access to our courts through new innovations."

Jane Campbell, a partner at Makin Dixon, a legal firm representing a female client, said:

"Accessing the hearing has made a real difference to our client, she was a referral from victim support who commented how convenient it was for the client. The victim was too scared to go home last night and doing this over video has really made a positive impact.

"The video hearing has the gravitas of a court room. The interview suite is set up with all the necessary tools to swear in a witness and the client gets to see the judge and observe the process."