Virtual courtrooms show where stresses and successes are likely to emerge

Hilary Lennox features in the Lawyer magazine and the Financial Times.  She discusses her experiences of remote hearings and the remote courtroom so far.

Hilary features in the Lawyer magazine here: 

While most cases have been heard using Skype for Business or Zoom, human rights and family barrister Hilary Lennox of Five St Andrew’s Hill told The Lawyer that she used Lifesize for a Financial Dispute Resolution hearing, with parties dialling in from Ireland and England.

She said: “Some courts will accept most software and in other courts there are different firewalls in place to prevent. Skype is winning at the moment but it hasn’t been fully unified yet.”

'Virtual Hearings: Five things we've learned so far.' To read the article in full from the Lawyer, published on 6 May 2020, which is accessed via a subscription, click here.

In the Financial Times she comments as follows:

Hilary Lennox, a family law barrister at 5 St Andrew’s Hill in London, was anxious about what would happen when physical court proceedings ground to a halt in March: “I am in court most days and . . . we were all concerned,” she says. However, after five remote hearings, including a High Court case involving an emergency hearing over Skype, she says the technology has worked well.

Ms Lennox has also appeared in a financial dispute resolution hearing, using Lifesize video conferencing that replicated a courtroom when she represented a client and a solicitor in Ireland.

The only hiccup came when her French bulldog Willow jumped on to her knee. “I had my Airpods in and was really focused on what was happening in the hearing,” she says. “Everyone laughed and the judge said ‘I think we have an intruder’.” 

Hilary recently presented a video for 5SAH on tips for remote hearings with Gemma Lindfield from our Family Law Team.  To view the video click here.  

....Judges have started to tell parties that forthcoming High Court trials will be staged remotely rather than adjourned. John Kimbell QC, sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge, recently refused an application to adjourn a five-week £250m trial, involving four factual witnesses and 13 expert witnesses, arguing that the experience of remote trials had been, on the whole, successful. But, in his guidance, Lord Burnett says that while judges have risen to working in remarkable ways to help keep the wheels of justice turning, it is nevertheless still “not business as usual” in the courts. “Realistically, it cannot be until the emergency subsides,” he says....

To read the full article published in the FT on 23 April 2020, click here.

Hilary specialises in international human rights and family law. Hilary is instructed to bring cases on behalf of individuals before the European Court of Human Rights most recently against Ireland. She speaks French, Spanish and Irish.