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Digital Courts

Clive Anderson and guests examine concerns that the government's programme to modernise the court system could threaten access to justice.

Clive Anderson and guests examine concerns that the government's programme to modernise the court system through use of digital technologies could threaten access to justice.

Today, it's common practice for vulnerable witnesses to give evidence via video link. But government proposals could see the entire court process move online. Critics of the plans say that, without access to a lawyer, vulnerable defendants might act against their best interests, or may even be manipulated by a third party.

Clive hears concerns that, without a defendant appearing in the dock, victims and their families might not feel justice was being done. and - without a physical courtroom for journalists to attend - justice might no longer be seen to be done.

There is a widespread worry that cost-cutting is being prioritised over justice, and that the digitally illiterate risk being shut out of legal system, with profound consequences.

Supporters of the proposals claim digital courts will save the public time and money, be easier to navigate, and meet the demands of the "internet society" that services be delivered online.

Producer: Matt Willis
A 7digital production for BBC Radio 4.

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