Remote rituals in virtual courts

Date

2021

Authors

Rossner, Meredith

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Volume Title

Publisher

Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Abstract

This article examines the ritual dynamics of virtual court hearings. While audio-visual links for select court participants have been available for decades, in a virtual hearing all parties participate using a videoconferencing platform. Such hearings have proliferated during the COVID-19 pandemic, as courts around the world have rushed to develop remote justice options. Scholars and legal professionals have expressed a range of concerns about this development, not least that there are elements of physical courtroom rituals that cannot be rendered virtually. Drawing on two recent empirical examinations of virtual courts, I explore what these hearings look and feel like for participants. I focus on the relationship between the material and symbolic elements of a court ritual and the meaning and experience of virtual co-presence. In some circumstances, traditional elements of court have been translated for a virtual space. In other ways, the ritual has been transformed. I conclude by discussing the limitations and potential of courts of the future.

Description

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Citation

Source

Journal of Law and Society

Type

Journal article

Book Title

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Access Statement

License Rights

DOI

10.1111/jols.12304

Restricted until

2099-12-31