Remote technology for California courts is a hit and calls for expansion

California courts, attorneys and clients should benefit from remote access technology ramped up during pandemic shutdowns and expanded access, a report sent to lawmakers said Friday.

Remote technology is suitable for all types of civil cases as long as it allows courts and parties to participate remotely, clear and confidential communication between clients and their attorneys, and clear communication between participants and interpreters, the report said.

“Remote work. Is it a problem? Yes. Can the problem be fixed? Absolutely,” said Marsha G. Slough, Associate Judge of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and Chair of the Judicial Council Task Force. “I look forward to working with legislators and others. We are confident that we can continue to provide access to our courts in the way that people have come to expect. appreciate it and know how to use it.”

More than 96 percent of the 33,044 court users and employees surveyed had a positive experience with their remote experience between March and September of this year, the report found. 6864 court users or 91% and 26180 employees or 97.6% had a positive experience. Reported negative experiences were mostly technical issues, with a few respondents noting business process challenges such as lack of general information and protocols.

Leah Rose-Goodwin, Litigation Research Manager, said: “Remote proceedings are being used extensively in civil courts and the experience appears to be overwhelmingly positive.”

The California Judicial Council unanimously approved report and recommendations for expanding the use and funding of remote technology.

Legislative push

This report follows the word of the legislators. failure Pass legislation allowing remote hearings to continue after July 1, 2023. The bill’s author, Sen. Thomas Umberg (D), urged senators to reject an Assembly amendment that would have prevented juvenile justice, commitment and other hearings from being held remotely.

Lawmakers will return to Sacramento on Dec. 5, and the new legislative session will begin on Jan. 4. Umberg, who is likely to be re-elected and return as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, could revive similar legislation.

“We have a very short window of time to demonstrate the benefits of remote technology,” Councilor Umberg said at the meeting. “It’s useful evidence, but it’s really important for the judiciary to reach out to legislators and people with an interest in the system,” he says, reaching out to lawmakers and sharing their experiences.

The report’s recommendations include expanding court reporter resources and utilizing innovative technology and remote court reporting; Provision of modern vision technology and equipment for court use; Amend Government ยง69957 to provide for electronic recording of all proceedings in the absence of a court reporter; increase the use of electronic records in the absence of a reporter to protect a party’s right to appeal; and provide funding to courts to create new positions responsible for providing technical support for remote proceedings.

California used remote technology before the pandemic, but in April 2020, the Judicial Council passed an emergency rule that would allow courts to require remote hearings and court proceedings.

Legislation approved last year agreed remote participation in civil proceedings, hearings, hearings and proceedings. A separate calculation As part of last year’s budget, the Judicial Council must submit a report on the use of remote technology in civil litigation.

California approved in June legislation among other things, permitted the use of remote trials in criminal cases with the consent of the defendant.

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