Audiovisual link technologies in Australian criminal courts: Practical and legal considerations

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Abstract

Audiovisual link (AVL) technologies have had considerable impact on criminal court processes in Australia and overseas, particularly following the need for social distancing created by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. AVL technologies have enabled courts to take oral evidence from witnesses and litigants in different geographical locations, reducing the need to travel long distances and minimising the time, administrative costs and health risks associated with attending court in person.

In 2016 the AIC commenced a project to document the extent to which AVL technologies are used in criminal courts in Australia, as well as the types and prevalence of AVL technologies used and the technological, administrative and procedural issues associated with their use in terms of fairness, openness, legality and natural justice. This report assesses the practical and legal considerations that need to be taken into account when adopting AVL technologies in the criminal courts and concludes by identifying best practice initiatives for the adoption of AVL technologies in Australia. An accompanying report presents findings regarding the implementation of systems in Australia (Smith, Savage & Emami 2021).