Digital participation : An exploration of how video conferencing impacts on criminal trials
Summary, in English
trials. From the traditional copresence of legal professionals, defendants, plaintiffs and witnesses in physical courtrooms, we are rapidly moving towards digital participation becoming more routine as reflected in the expeditious increase in the use of video conferencing in trials in Sweden and many other countries. However, whilst technological advances and legal rulings are enabling this digital shift, academic attention has failed to keep abreast of how participating in criminal trials by video conference is experienced by those taking part, or how this format of participation changes how they are perceived. Relatedly, the shift from participating in a physical legal setting to taking part via video link also has repercussions for conveying and upholding the legitimacy of legal proceedings. There is a risk the COVID-19 pandemic rushed the courtrooms into a digital world without appropriate investigation. This paper will discuss the extant research and present a project proposal that is centred around three research questions: How does participation by video conference change the experience of a legal trial? How is the ceremonial setting of a trial conveyed in video conferences? How does video conferencing impact on judicial evaluations of credibility and guilt?
A combined qualitative and quantitative approach will be used. The empirical focus will be on criminal trials at district court concerning crimes against persons where credibility is of particular importance. The findings will produce new knowledge regarding the interpretations and practices of digital participation in legal trials and will also have important implications for the execution of justice beyond the site of study.