Cloud Video Platform

Monday 26th April 2021

Cloud Video Platform, or ‘CVP’ for short, is the new video conferencing software rolled out in Courts across England and Wales during the COVID-19 pandemic. CVP has allowed for court hearings to go ahead remotely and has helped minimise the amount of people in the court room. The types of hearings where CVP can be used include; first hearings in the Magistrates Court, case management hearings, bail applications, applications to revoke a restraining order and sentence hearings. Schedules 23 and 24 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 allow the use of video and audio links in criminal proceedings.

CVP works similarly to how a Zoom or Microsoft Teams meeting would work. We are sent a link by the court which we follow and we are put into a virtual lobby (or straight into the court room for hearings at the Magistrates court – just like in real life). Once the hearing starts, we are allowed access to the court room and have the ability to see and hear everything that is going on. We can see all the parties to the hearing including the Magistrates or Judge, the prosecution, probation and our client, and they can see us too. If our client needs to speak to us at any point, all they have to do is raise their hand as they would do if we were there in person, and the court will accommodate this.

Our clients are not at any disadvantage by having us attend via CVP to represent them. There is still ample opportunity for our clients to engage in a pre-hearing consultation with us in private. This can be facilitated over the phone, over a video link or even in person at our office at an earlier date (COVID-19 restrictions permitting). At Waldrons we will assess whether it is appropriate to use CVP on a case by case basis and whenever our attendance in person is required we will be there. For example, cases that involve video evidence or where our clients have particular vulnerabilities, we will ensure our attendance in person.

There are a number of benefits to our clients provided by these virtual court hearings. Firstly, it allows us to be in any place at any time. We are able to cover multiple court venues quickly and at short notice. This reduces our need to instruct an agent, or to send another member of the team when we are unavailable. It means the solicitor with conduct of your case from the outset, is more likely to be able to cover all of your court hearings and there is less chance of them being tied up elsewhere. CVP gives the solicitor with knowledge of your case more capacity to deal with it.

Our solicitor advocate Glenn Cook provides a recent illustration where he found himself able to represent four clients in one day at different court venues. He found himself appearing at Wolverhampton Crown Court and Birmingham Magistrates Court in the morning, and Highbury Corner Magistrates Court in London and Worcester Crown Court in the afternoon. The introduction of CVP provided Mr Cook with the ability to provide a high standard of legal advice to four of our clients on this particular day, without the delays caused by travelling across the country or the need to delegate his cases to someone else.

It is expected that CVP will soon be able to accommodate trials and considering its success so far, it will be interesting to see whether virtual hearings continue post-COVID and change the way we work for the future.  

Any of our existing or prospective clients with queries about CVP should not hesitate to call the criminal defence team on 01384 811 811 and we will be happy to help.