California renews law promoting access to justice with remote court hearings
California will continue to allow remote court hearings, due to legislation passed at the end of June as part of the 2023 state budget. Remote technology allows people to attend court without being physically present in the courthouse. The state began allowing remote court hearings during the Covid 19 pandemic and then extended their use after the pandemic. The courts use Zoom or similar technology. Lawyers and insurance companies also use Zoom or other video conferencing for depositions (interviews under oath that take place outside of court) and mediations (meetings to try to get a case settled).
The courts became extremely crowded and backlogged with cases during the pandemic. They are still working to catch up on overcrowding and lack of personnel, and using remote technology helps the courts to move cases more quickly. Many judges and attorneys realized that the use of this technology has benefits that extend far beyond pandemic protections. “[R]emote hearings are an essential avenue to ensuring everyone can have their day in court,” noted Nancy Drabble, the Chief Executive Officer of the Consumer Attorneys of California.
As personal injury attorneys, we know that many of our clients worry about whether they have the time and resources for their case. Going to court can often take a whole day, even for a relatively short hearing. It can involve travel expenses, finding childcare, missing work, and more. Remote hearing technology helps level the playing field for people with limited time and financial resources.
There can be hiccups with using remote technology, such as poor internet connections causing interruptions. But there are also issues with in-person court hearings, such as traffic jams and power outages. The attorneys at Mercado Kramer have conducted hundreds of court hearings, depositions, and mediations using remote technology and will help make sure you feel comfortable with it during your case.