Like almost any process in our lives, technology has led to innovations even in court proceedings. Videoconferencing for depositions can be a great proof of technological innovations in this field. Court reporting is considerably an essential element in this process, so one might wonder how videoconferencing affects this function. Here is an overview of videoconferencing, and the advantages and disadvantages it may bring to court reporting.
What exactly is videoconferencing?
Videoconferencing generally means having a meeting or conference between two or more parties by transmitting video and audio data. Though the participants may be in different sites physically, videoconferencing still allows them to have a real-time interaction where they can hear and see each other. It can happen through different platforms such as desktop and laptop computers, mobile devices, telephone and camera. In the past, holding a videoconference might be considered a luxury, but the increasing availability of technology has now made it easier and more affordable.
What are the advantages of videoconferencing in court reporting?
Say, for example, there is a crucial witness in Phoenix, Arizona and the proceedings mainly are happening in San Francisco, California. To deliver their statement in court, the witness might have to go all the way from Phoenix to San Francisco and, of course, they would need lodging, too.
This would certainly cost money and there is also the risk that the witness will refuse to travel. With videoconferencing, the witness may just give the deposition from Arizona and the costs might be minimized in this case. There should still be a lawyer present with the witness though.
Videoconferences can also be digitally recorded, but this does not necessarily mean that a court reporter is unnecessary for a videoconference deposition. So, sticking with the example, even while the witness is delivering their statement from Phoenix, Az court reporters should ideally be present for the videoconference to swear in the witness and transcribe the deposition. The digitally-recorded videoconference could also aid the transcriptions of court reporters.
Does videoconferencing have negative effects in court reporting?
Most tools may come with advantages and disadvantages, and videoconferencing is no exception. There might be technical difficulties as the witness delivers the deposition, such as unreliable internet connection or the audio track not synchronizing with the visual track. Parties on either end of the videoconference could also find it difficult to distinguish who is speaking at any given moment, which can be especially difficult for the court reporter.
Some court reporters might not also be familiar with the technical aspect in conducting a videoconference. For this, it might be important to make sure that the court reporter has relevant certification. Certified Legal Video Specialists (CLVS) would be the best court reporters for the job since having this certification entails that a CLVS court reporter is proficient in video deposition practices.
There are a lot more things to consider in videoconferencing for legal proceedings. Necessary preparations would have to be made to make sure that there would be no technical difficulties and that all the parties involved are comfortable enough for the process to go on smoothly.
All the processes that are part of a court proceeding should be carried out conscientiously. Should you find yourself faced with the choice on whether or not to opt for a video deposition, carefully consider all the factors and parties involved so you can decide on what is best.