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UK to Test Court Hearings Over the Net

April 01, 2001  | 

A U.K. court in the city of Manchester will pilot a program to hold "plea and directions hearings," usually given before a trial, over the Internet. The move is expected to save thecost of courtroom overhead as well avoid unnecessary inconvenience for the participants and their lawyers. During the hearings, a defendant submits a plea and the governmentdecides which court--either Crown or magistrates--will judge the case. Through the pilot, lawyers would be able to submit paperwork and detailed arguments online.

U.K. lawyer Christopher Murray says, "As a practitioner, I welcome any way of making more efficient any of the court procedures. A largenumber of hearings take place that are unnecessarily cumbersome and expensive."

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