The Youth Justice Board (YJB) has published a statement outlining its position on children appearing in court via video link. Video link hearings are not appropriate for trial, sentencing or appeal hearings involving children.
In principle, the YJB supports the use of video technology for preliminary hearings, where assessed as suitable by all relevant parties.
However, a ‘digital by default’ approach to court hearings is not appropriate for children and young people. Consideration must first be given to the nature of the hearing in question. The use of video links is not appropriate for trial, sentencing or appeal hearings involving children.
Suitability of a preliminary hearing for video technology must be assessed on a case-by-case basis and be subject to a robust decision-making process involving the judiciary, the young person’s youth offending team, the defence representative, the CPS and other relevant parties. The assessment must take into account the individual needs and requirements of each child or young person, including whether the young person has any speech, language or communication needs.
Where the use of digital technology is deemed suitable, defence representation must be guaranteed.