Two of our lawyers, Brian Sunohara and Erin Crochetière, participated in a virtual trial from our boardroom last week. The case involves alleged motor vehicle negligence and breach of Charter rights. The trial is anticipated to continue in the early new year.
Although conducting a trial by videoconference is not the same as being in person, Brian and Erin found the process to be efficient. Eleven witnesses, including three experts, testified over five days. Impressively, Erin examined six of the witnesses – a great feat for a young lawyer!
There were very few hiccups from a technology standpoint. Extensive use was made of the document storage platform, CaseLines. It was easy to direct witnesses and the court to specific pages in CaseLines.
There were no concerns that witnesses were referring to notes or scripts in an impermissible manner during their testimony or receiving assistance from others.
Having a virtual trial was more convenient to witnesses from a travel perspective. There can also be cost efficiencies associated with a virtual trial in terms of travel time.
Overall, there is something to be said of the gravitas and solemnity of an in-person trial, but a virtual trial seems to be a good alternative in some judge-alone cases.