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12° Nicosia,
24 January, 2021
 
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Efforts underway to allow courts to judge cases remotely

A meeting on Monday considered several ways of getting around current justice system processes requiring people's physical presence

Lizzy Ioannidou

As the Justice Ministry scrambles to pave the way for a resumption of the complete operation of courts amid the strict restriction measures in place to tackle to coronavirus outbreak, Justice Minister Giorgos Savvides said Monday that efforts are underway to allow some hearings to take place via teleconference.

A meeting at the Presidential Palace saw ideas tabled on ways to allow the justice system to fully resume operations as soon as possible, with one viable solution being the conducting of hearings, not including trials, remotely.

As a first stage, Savvides said, remote hearings can take place in cases where “defendants and witnesses won’t participate, where hearings are at the initial phase or where people participating are a few.”

Savvides noted that this scenario would possibly require legislative changes to some degree, and so participants agreed to set the move in motion through the formation of a committee that would see the development through.

Participants of the meeting on Monday also considered finding ways around the affidavit process which currently requires the public to go to court to sign for them, while the Deputy Minister for Innovation has already been tasked with the setting up of an online platform where court documents can be submitted, with reports last week suggesting that the process could take up to eight week.

The Supreme Court will convene on Thursday to review the measures it has put in place, following the much-awaited meeting of the Cabinet on Wednesday when the potential first relaxation of restriction measures is to be decided.

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