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Saville Group help Scottish courts in groundbreaking UK first for legal proceedings

September heralded the start of a unique initiative between the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, ODEON cinemas and York based Saville Group, creating a UK first by running court sessions with a remote jury.

Supported by £5.5m of Scottish Government funding, the project sets out to allow up to 16 courts to run concurrently returning High Court trials in Scotland to pre-covid business levels.

The SCTS’s innovative solution sees physically distanced juries of up to 15 people taking part remotely in cases streamed live from the High Courts to remote jury centres at ODEON Fort Kinnaird in Edinburgh and Braehead in Glasgow.

Speaking about the project, Saville Group technical Director Colin Etchells explained: “Relying exclusively on high end two-way video streaming technology, Saville Group were the perfect fit for this groundbreaking initiative via our unique and dedicated installation and live event brands, Visavvi and Sparq.”

“As leading communication and collaboration specialists, the Visavvi team were the perfect architects to design an incredibly robust and secure video solution using leading brand hardware. This was facilitated through our own hosted video platform and managed and operated on site by Sparq’s highly experienced technical crew. In fact, to deliver the project effectively within the time frame, we have been able to recruit new members to the team which is fantastic given the current state of the events industry.”

The pioneering set-up will allow jurors to sit spaced apart, in a cinema auditorium, with cameras connecting them to the main courts where the legal teams for the prosecution and defence alongside witnesses and accused are located.

The screen in the cinema is split into four quadrants showing a general view of the court, the accused, the judge or witness, and the SCTS logo – which can be replaced to show court presentations such as physical or video evidence.

At the same time, jury members are streamed back to a videowall in the court for the benefit of the lawyers and judiciary teams. An additional benefit of the system is that the live feed from the courtroom can be cut at the touch of a button, avoiding the need for the jury to retire whilst legal arguments are heard in court.

“Working alongside our partner ODEON, we were incredibly excited to be able to deliver an extraordinary and ingenious solution to tackle the increasing backlog of cases, setting a new precedent for proceedings within the UK legal system” concluded Colin.