Covid-19 lockdown: UK Supreme Court goes virtual

The matter of Fowler (Respondent) v Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs will make legal history this morning as the first Supreme Court case to be conducted entirely by video conferencing. Announcing the closure of physical premises last night, the Supreme Court said that all cases and judgment hand-downs will continue via web-based video conferencing until further notice. Parties, their legal teams, counsel and each of the Justices will be located in different places. Reports the Law Gazette

Proceedings will be available to the public and media via the court’s website in the usual way. Footage will be available to view on demand within 48 hours of the live broadcast.

The first judgment to be handed down remotely will be Elgizouli (Appellant) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Respondent), at 9.45am tomorrow.

According to the announcement, the court has access to the Cisco WebEx videoconferencing system, ‘which has been chosen for its ease of use and reliability’. The brand name covers a suite of hardare and software which allows remote teams to work together with high definition screens. ‘The video output will look different to the court’s usual live stream, but we hope that it will serve as a satisfactory record of proceedings,’ the announcement stated.