A senior British Judge has warned that virtual hearings are stunting junior lawyers’ development.
Chancellor of the High Court Sir Julian Flux warned that “junior barristers and solicitors’ participation is limited to being a tile without picture or sound on a Teams screen.”
The top Judge warned that the rise of remote hearings has seen QC’s take charge of proceedings, meaning juniors have increasingly been left out of the process.
“As anyone who has been an advocate will say, it is only by doing your own advocacy and making your own mistakes that you learn your trade,” Sir Julian Flux said in a speech to the Chancery Bar Association.
Flux also raised concerns that online trials are jeopardising justice, as he argued for the importance of cross-examining witnesses in a “neutral location.”
Nonetheless, Sir Julian Flux said virtual hearings are here to stay, and that they will remain the default method of conducting short hearings.
The Judge said a hybrid model may also prevail, through which the Judge, advocates, and critical witnesses appear in court, and others, such as clients or members of the press tune in remotely.
Sir Julian Flux added that while the past couple of years have been a “gruelling two years” the pandemic has reaffirmed the importance of “health and wellbeing,” and a reasonable work-life balance.