Lord Carloway backs plans for use of remote juries in High Court cases
Lord Carloway has backed plans for the use of remote juries in High Court cases so trials can go ahead while maintaining physical distancing.
The Restarting Solemn Trials Working Group recommended the move, supported by the Lord Justice General, which will allow juries to participate in trials from venues other than court buildings, such as cinemas.
It comes after trial of a “remote jury” model in Edinburgh High Court, but instead of jurors watching from another room the plan aims for juries to view proceedings from jury centres outwith the court altogether, allowing the High Court to use all the court rooms at its disposal to run trials.
Chair of the Working Group, Lady Dorrian, said: “The beauty of this solution is that it preserves the 15-person jury trial, and will allow us, in time, to raise business in the High Court to a level that will start to address the growing backlog of cases.
“The Working Group took a long hard look at the lessons learned from the two-court and three-court model currently in use to run a small number of trials.
“It was clear that the remote jury model does work, and, if suitable external venues could be identified, it would be possible to run a much higher number of trials, making full use of the courtrooms we have available for the trials. I’m very grateful to everyone on the group, and others who have provided feedback, for helping us develop such an exciting, imaginative but extremely practical solution.”