Suresh Law Professional Corporation

The use of video conferences in courts

For many decades, the judiciary has struggled with balancing the convenience and opening of public exposure to the legal system with privacy concerns and the rights of those involved in a case with respect to courtroom cameras. In some jurisdictions, there is no concern. Many American states, for instance, have allowed cameras into the courtroom for many years. Here in Canada, however, we have generally been a bit more reserved and kept the cameras out of the courtroom.

In 2020 the world was shaken by the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus. This led to the courts here in Ontario physically closing in March 2020. As with the rest of society, alternative methods of delivering court business were required. Initially, there was hesitance, and electronic communication was limited to sentencing hearings, bail applications, motions, and some appeals. Trials, however, were strictly off-limits in the absence of any clear process. Over the following months, the judiciary developed suitable procedures. In June 2020, a trial by Zoom was held in Ontario. The process of using Zoom continues to be refined since then.

Canada scrapped the death penalty in 1976, so you are unlikely to be facing the death penalty here anytime soon. However, there is a good chance of being sent to jail over Zoom in the coming years. 

While we do not handle criminal cases, we are always happy to refer our clients to one of our experienced colleagues in the event of such problems.