Delivering cost-effective justice services in a State the size of Western Australia is extremely challenging.
Traditionally, parties involved in a court case (including witnesses, parties, lawyers and judicial officers like judges, magistrates and JPs) had to be physically present in the one location for the matter to proceed. This can be very expensive in terms of time, travel and accommodation costs.
The Supreme Court is one of the courts in the justice system in Western Australia that uses video conferencing systems to help resolve some of these problems. This technology provides interactive video and audio communications between parties in different locations.
In appropriate situations, a party to proceedings can seek an order from the Court pursuant to Evidence Act 1906 (WA) s121 that a witness give evidence at a trial by video link.
The Supreme Court also uses video links for routine criminal hearings to avoid the cost and inconvenience of moving persons in custody from the detention facility to court and back, for what is sometimes a very short hearing
The Court’s policy on witnesses giving evidence by video link is set out in the Consolidated Practice Direction (see 1.2.7 - Taking of evidence by video link). The Practice Direction imposes an obligation on a party who has obtained an order for the use of video link facilities to use reasonable endeavours to ensure that the video link facility is one set out in the Court's List of Preferred Video Link Facilities.
The Practice Direction also sets out some specific obligations to ensure that the dignity and solemnity of the court is maintained throughout the reception of the evidence by video link.
Once an order has been obtained for a witness to give evidence by video link, the party who has obtained the order will need to make the necessary administrative arrangements with the Court. To do so, the party will need to a Video Link Booking Request to the Court, not less than 14 days before the date of the hearing in which the evidence is to be taken.
Video link facilities are funded by a user-pays system. The fees are itemised as follows:
Please note that other than in special circumstances, there are no fees for video links in criminal proceedings. The Courts Technology Officer can clarify whether fees are payable or not.
For more information, contact the Court's Technology Officer on (08) 9421 5462 or Facsimile: (08) 9421 5353.
Last updated: 8-Mar-2017
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