Global Initiative Publishes Article on Child Justice in the Digital Courts Era

Fri, 15 September, 2023


In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, which posed unprecedented challenges to global justice systems, the Global Initiative on Justice With Children (JWC) has released an article exploring the profound impact of digital courts on child justice. Published on 15th September 2023, this article, titled "Impact on Child Justice in a World of Digital Courts," sheds light on the transformative journey of justice systems worldwide during the pandemic and beyond.

The pandemic compelled courts to innovate, giving rise to virtual trials and digital court proceedings as a means to ensure the continuity of judicial processes. As the world emerges from the grip of the health crisis, various jurisdictions are charting distinct courses in their approach to child justice. Some continue in-person hearings, fortified with stringent health measures, while others have embraced the digitisation of court proceedings, leveraging cutting-edge technology.

To comprehensively understand the complexities of this paradigm shift, volunteer attorneys from Baker McKenzie and Google's legal department collaborated to support the Global Initiative on Justice With Children. Their mission: to interview judiciary professionals globally and gather their perspectives on digital justice. Through a unified questioning tool, these interviews delved into the experiences and insights of individual judges navigating the uncharted territory of virtual hearings and trials in child justice proceedings.

The resulting article analyses the advantages and disadvantages of virtual hearings, scrutinising their impact on children's ability to actively participate in and comprehend the complexities of the judicial process. Defined as 'digital justice,' this innovative approach to child court proceedings prompts critical questions about its potential normalisation and the protective measures necessary in this evolving justice landscape.

Specifically, the article addresses the challenges associated with ensuring a safe space for children's data and privacy in the digital realm, communication hurdles with legal counsel, and the difficulties children face in expressing themselves during virtual proceedings. The insights gleaned from these interviews highlight the challenges and opportunities presented by the digitalisation of child justice.

As the world grapples with redefining its justice systems, this article aims to stimulate conversations on the future of child justice in a world where the digital and the justice system intersect. 

Read the article.