Of all the ways that the public sector might be able to use unified communications, one of the most intriguing is the idea of virtually attending a court date. Imagine, for instance, if you wanted to contest a traffic ticket that you got while you were on vacation on the other side of the country. Traditionally, this meant that you'd either have to cut your losses, or go all the way back to the state where you received the citation.
Wouldn't it be better if you could just hop on a video conference? Depending on the state, you might just have that option.
Justice may be blind, but the judge can see you just fine on that screen
In many parts of the U.S., such as Palm Beach County in Florida, residents may have the option to fight traffic infractions via video conference. Likewise, the United State court of Federal Claims, which primarily deals with monetary legal claims such as tax refund suits, allows for some cases to be heard over the video conference.
In addition to saving time for plaintiffs and defendants alike, the ability to hold court sessions virtually can save travel time for attorneys and judiciaries. It can also save money in other ways, such as not having to pay interpreters to travel to outlying courts. Video conferencing also makes it easy for judges to connect to attorneys and law enforcement agencies as needed. According to the Michigan Supreme Court, the state saved nearly $5 million in two years with its "virtual courtrooms."
Granted, there will always be some cases that simply can't be heard over a video conference. Nevertheless, as unified communications continues to enhance our collaborative capabilities, an increasing number of courts will have a more convenient and efficient way to hold pre-trials and arraignments – digital face to digital face.