The Covid-19 pandemic brought in-person court proceedings to a halt in 2020. Courts around the country adopted remote hearings and trials, usually over video conferencing, to allow the judicial branch to continue working. While New Jersey Courts are again open for in-person trials, some remote options remain and are likely to continue long past the end of the pandemic.
Courts around the country and the National Center for State Courts quickly issued guidelines for remote cases. Most of the guidelines addressed security and privacy concern, as well as more steps on how to access hearings and basic troubleshooting.
Remote cases are both more and less time efficient. On the plus side, without the hassle of physically reporting for jury duty, more jurors report for service. Before the pandemic, courts often had trouble filling their jury pools, which can delay trials. The larger remote pool, by contrast, allows courts to more quickly assemble jurors for cases.
The downside is that several other issues can slow down remote trials. Technology issues, including a poor internet connection, can result in significant delays. Both attorneys and judges have commented that remote trials tend to have shorter days, to account for a higher likelihood of people not paying attention to a screen.
The use of video conferencing can also limit people’s ability to read body language and other physical cues. Good trial attorneys often pay attention to the jury’s level of interest and adjust as needed to capture and keep their attention. Remote cases make this more difficult.
Remote cases do have advantages. They eliminate commute times and simplify the jury process for those who do not have cars or have to rely on public transportation. They also reduce the risk of potential interactions between participants in a trial, which can be especially beneficial in a contentious case such as a divorce.
Understanding how a remote trial works can only be to your benefit, which is why hiring an experienced law firm with attorneys who are well versed in both remote and in-person trials is important.
At Barker, Gelfand, James & Sarvas, P.C., our lawyers stay up to date on the law and changes in technology. We represent parties in a wide range of lawsuits. If you need legal help, please call 609-601-8677 or contact us online to arrange a consultation.
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Barker, Gelfand, James & Sarvas, P.C. is located in Linwood, NJ and serves clients in and around Linwood, Somers Point, Ventnor City, Margate City, Northfield, Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic City, Pleasantville, Absecon, Pomona, Oceanville, Mays Landing, Egg Harbor City, Port Republic, Brigantine, Longport, We also serve Atlantic, Cape May, Gloucester, Cumberland and Camden counties.
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