Virtual hearings and online hearings using ‘rapid messaging’ will become a reality for social security appeals within the next 18 months, according to HM Court and Tribunals Service (HMCTS).
Writing on their blog, they explain:
“In tribunals, people appealing social security and child benefit decisions will be able to make their application fully online, track the progress of their case by text, email or online, and, if judged appropriate, take part either in a virtual hearing, or in an online hearing with the judge able to ask questions through rapid messaging, allowing much faster decision-making in a system where delays can bring real hardship. The system will also support physical hearings for those that need them (and judges will always have discretion over the way cases should be heard).
“Similar systems will developed for other tribunals. Virtual hearings (with all parties able to attend from anywhere) are currently being technically tested for immigration and asylum case management and once testing is complete will be further developed for wider pilots, for use where judges deem it appropriate.”
HMCTS say that they will provide specialist, face-to-face help for people who cannot easily use digital services.
They have already signed a contract with The Good Things Foundation to provide this support.
You can read more on the HMCTS blog.