Courts and health service embrace video technologies in response to Covid-19 restrictions

02 April 2020

Traditionally face-to-face sectors, in recent weeks the healthcare and justice systems have begun to embrace video technologies in order to continue to progress the work of the courts as the UK faces self-isolation and lockdown.

Maintaining essential public services

With courts and tribunals considered an essential public service, the Coronavirus Act 2020 expands the availability of video and audio link in various proceedings and allows the public to participate in court and tribunal proceedings through audio and video. New directions issued on 25 March 2020 set out the arrangements for audio and video recording and the rights of access to the data.

Though video-based jury trials have been ruled out by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon encouraged jurisdictions to enable as many hearings as possible to be conducted with some or all of the participants attending by telephone, video-link or online. Jury cases estimated to last over three days have been postponed.

At the same time, the NHS has moved to make video and telephone consultations more available during the crisis. The NHS guidance specifies that tools such as Skype and Facetime, as well as off-the-shelf applications designed for text communication (such as WhatsApp and Telegram) are permitted. The guidance also covers good practice for home working and using personal phones, laptops and computers.

The General Medical Council has produced a helpful flow chart for clinicians to guide in decision making about online and video consultations, which you can access here. The GMC guidance also covers consent and continuity of care.

Embracing a new way of working

With lockdown and self-isolation set to continue for the foreseeable future, adapting to this new way of working will ensure that patients, solicitors, healthcare professionals, the Courts and other stakeholders can continue to access medical services and due process under the law in these unprecedented times.

Since mid-March, NRC Medical Experts have been working with our stakeholders in the legal and judiciary system to continue providing our specialist medio-legal services. Video consultations are already taking place, with Experts taking part in case reviews via online and telephone conferencing.

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Covid-19 Update

It's business as usual at NRC Medical Experts.

Our offices are closed, however we are working from home with full access to all our systems. The team is available via email – contact us as usual and we'll get back to you as quickly as ever.