A guide to the use of information technology equipment in Court proceedings
The Courts are facing an ever growing demand for the use of Information and Communication Technology ('ICT') equipment in court proceedings. These demands range from the most basic of requests to complex and costly requirements. Some of the issues faced in this respect at present are:
- the lack of applications for Judicial approval to adduce evidence via ICT equipment
- lack of early notice of requirements
- out of the ordinary equipment requirements
- operation of equipment
The first section of this page is intended to be a guide to parties and their legal representatives where such a request may be considered.
In order to seek to resolve the above issues, the following guidance notes are issued:
- Parties wishing to present such ICT evidence must in the first instance seek the prior approval of the Court to do so (such applications to be by agreement between the parties or by exception, on notice)
- Where such ICT evidence is to be presented and the requirement is for our standard ICT equipment only (see item 3 below), the parties must provide a minimum of 7 days notice to the Court of the requirements (save in the most exceptional of circumstances)
- Information regarding the standard equipment available is provided in the information section below
- Should you wish to use other than the basic equipment referred to at item 3 above, you should note that it is the parties responsibility to provide and operate such equipment and any associated costs must be borne by the party requesting use and,
- In such instances (following approval per item 1 above), the party concerned must make contact (a minimum of 14 days notice is required) with the relevant Courts section via e-mail (email@example.com) to discuss requirements, compatibility etc
- It is the parties responsibility to ensure effective operation of the equipment in court, unless by exception determined otherwise by the court, and that the appropriate information only is relayed to whomsoever is appropriate in court
- It is the parties responsibility to test that the evidence is produced effectively on the equipment (by arrangement) and ensure that it works effectively on the day
Information Relating to the Production of Evidence via ICT
This section provides a description of the equipment available for exhibiting evidence in the Isle of Man Courts of Justice. More detailed specifications are available at the end of the page.
Equipment and facilities
Audio & Video Material
All courtrooms have DVD-Video (DVD-V) disc players. The DVD player can also play both standard audio CDs and MP3 audio files. Courts 2 & 3 additionally have a VHS tape player. Each device has the facility for the parties to control playback. Audio cassette playback facilities are not available.
Audio or video material that was not originally recorded in format listed above, may be re-recorded (by the party) into one of these formats before hearing. An example may be video surveillance footage or the recording of a telephone intercept originally stored on a computer hard drive. Re-recording onto one of the above formats ensures that the relevant material can be viewed in the course of the hearing, and on appeal.
From time to time an audio recording on a CD or DVD disc may be barely audible in the courtroom. The reason for this is related to the sound level on the recording being at a lower than usual audio level (for example, a recording of a telephone intercept). Parties are required to ensure before hearing that the audio levels of any recording are audible when played in court.
It should be noted that surveillance evidence in particular has been the subject of numerous difficulties in the past which would suggest that early notice and testing in this area is critical.
The Court's preference is for photos to be presented in print format. This way, the printed photo is tendered as the exhibit.
In-Court Video Conferencing
Video Conferencing is available in courtrooms 2 & 3 for taking evidence from witnesses outside the courtroom. Video conference calls are made using the ITU H.323 protocol over ISDN at 384kbps. It is the practice of the court to dial out to the remote site, unless the court directs otherwise.
Prior arrangements have to be made with the clerk of the court in order to ensure compatibility and to perhaps arrange a test. You should supply:
- A contact name at the remote site, with a contact telephone number, including international and regional dialling codes if required;
- The ISDN number of the remote site, including international and regional dialling codes if required;
- The time and date of the test. Please ensure that all parties understand any difference in time zones and have their correct local time for any calls.
Please note that the UK Ministry of Justice has specific requirements for Video conference links to UK Prisons - refer to http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/prison-video-link
Presenting Evidence in other formats
Where a party wants to present evidence in a format other than those set out above, they are responsible for making arrangements to present that evidence.
The party should contact the court at least 14 days before hearing in order to discuss the proposed arrangements and attend court to test the proposal (see separate guide above).
- Before attending court, check the exhibit. If you are in any doubt about the format, or whether it will play on a DVD player, speak to the technician who produced it.
- If you are bringing a laptop, ensure that you bring a power supply, any relevant passwords, and you know how to display images on an external screen and switch off the screensaver.
- If you are using videoconferencing, please make sure that time zones and national & regional dialing codes are correct, and you have made arrangements for witnesses to be sworn in.
- A guide to the use of IT equipment in Court Proceedings is provided at the top of the this page.
Any queries regarding evidence for a hearing should be directed in the first instance to the clerk of the court: please refer to the published contacts.