New chairman of Bar Council warns that online courts might undermine the ‘majesty of the law’

Andrew Langdon QC, the new chairman of the Bar Council, said that online courts would have the attraction of appealing to people “who would rather not go to court”, but might also undermine the “majesty of the law” by diminishing respect for the court if defendants and witnesses only had “virtual” contact with the judges.

“I am not convinced that moving to a world where the default position is that a hearing will be virtual as opposed to real, is a good idea,” he said in a speech in London marking his appointment as Bar Council chairman. 

Mr Langdon noted that the shift to virtual hearings would make it more difficult to make accurate assessments of those appearing in court. He added: “We do it best when we are together in one place. Justice has a human face, and it’s not a face on a screen.”

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