14 May 2024
Vara questions Lord Chancellor on progress of introducing virtual hearings

Shailesh Vara who introduced virtual hearings in courts when he was a Justice Minister so cases could proceed more effectively asks the Lord Chancellor for an update on them.

Shailesh Vara (North West Cambridgeshire) (Con)

When I was a Justice Minister, I introduced virtual hearings so that cases could proceed much more effectively. Will the Lord Chancellor kindly update the House on the progress of those hearings?

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Alex Chalk)

I am delighted to hear from my right hon. Friend, who was such a distinguished Minister in this Department. He did indeed introduce virtual hearings in our courts, and time has proved how prescient he was, because that was the right thing to do. I welcome the recent decision by the Judicial Office to make remote hearings the default arrangement for bail applications. In a wider context, a private Member’s Bill introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Warrington South (Andy Carter), which is currently making its way through Parliament, will amend legislation so that magistrates and judges in magistrates, county and family courts will be able to hear cases remotely when that is appropriate.