This study investigated impacts of a virtual court on justice. Under experimental conditions, research participants took part in a mock hearing, either in an immersive pod or in a face-to-face physical setting. Here are the results.
Digital technology is transforming all social life, including justice processes. This project has focused on the move towards virtual justice, where participants might be physically dispersed but present in one physical courtroom by audio and video technology. A team of academics across law, psychology and sociology, in partnership with justice, architecture and technology professionals have collaborated to develop a Distributed Courtroom model that tries to make the video-enabled hearing as similar as possible to a face-to-face hearing.
This report can be used to assist those developing general guidelines for practice in a distributed courtroom as well as those dealing with specific applications of these technologies.
This Report provides images and reflections from the 2011 executive research tour.
Highlights of the tour included David Chipperfield’s Barcelona City of Justice & Berlin Neues Museum; Oswald Mathias Ungers’s Berlin Family Court; and the European Court of Justice, Luxembourg.
Report themes include: security; art and symbolism; and equality and transparency.
Gateways to Justice: Design and Operational Guidelines for Remote Participation in Court Proceedings
These Guidelines are the result of an ARC-funded study on witness participation in court by video link, particularly the difference made to the witness and observers by enhanced technology, a more comfortable witness room and more welcoming rituals.
Security fears shape popular debates and government policies. They are also major issues for the design and management of courts. This report, carried out in partnership with several court systems in Australia and New Zealand, brings together the insights of court administrators and court users about the best way to create safe environments for all justice participants.
The report encourages those engaged in the administration and design of courts and tribunals to carefully analyse – for the specific place – the potential security risks and the potential safety opportunities (both physical and psychological) for each group of users and to evaluate a broad matrix of potential solutions which encompass physical, technological and operational elements.
The second tour, in 2008, included European and international courts in Strasbourg, Luxembourg and The Hague. The tour included an architectural design exercise in the Peace Palace where groups outlined their ideal courtroom configurations for hearings involving alleged war crimes, human rights violations and disputes between nations. A common theme of all the designs was an emphasis on placing justice spaces within a park or other natural setting.
The first tour in 2005 included memorable new French courts, including those by Jean Nouvel, Richard Rogers and Henri Cirani. One highlight was a mock trial in a special terrorism courtroom in Paris, conducted in French, English and Chinese and displaying the different court layouts used by each legal tradition.
The rethink the design of court building design in the 1990s saw more user-oriented approaches. This 1999 report gathers international literature on the psychology of courthouse design, reviews the changing justice symbolism in Australia and provides suggested layouts for courthouse spaces.