Evidence by Audio- Video Conference - Pros and Cons
The development of technology and modernization of court facilities means that a witness in a
remote location can also give evidence at court. In a recent gazette published by the
Administrative Division of the High Court Division of The Supreme Court of Bangladesh, our ex.
Hon’ble Justice Hasan Foez Siddique has given a practice direction on using ‘audio-video
conference’ for giving evidence in a trial. However, virtual evidence presents a unique set of
challenges for parties to a dispute, lawyers/advocates, judges or related parties to the dispute.
Before using the audio-video conferencing for giving evidence, it is necessary to consider how
the use of this option will impact on the overall litigation process and prospects.
1. It saves time.
2. It saves cost (witness accommodation / transport etc.).
3. Greater convenience.
4. Witness cooperation improved.
5. It may secure evidence that may be unavailable e.g. for witness based abroad, hospital.
6. Being a 3 rd world country sometimes it’s not safe to bring criminals to court to give evidence.
1. Performance of witnesses can be impaired when giving evidence via audio-video conference
and the evidence could be extremely important to the outcome of the case.
2. Preparation is the key to ensure that the ‘audio-video conference’ evidence works well but
there can always be unforeseen issues so ensure technical assistance is available, at both the
local and remote site, to deal with any problems that arise on the day.
3. Requires permission of the court.
4. Less overall control of the witness.
5. Poor infrastructure at the local site may increase costs.
6. No recording of evidence mentioned.
7. Our court room does not have suitable equipment for use of video conference evidence thus
it will be necessary to ensure the correct court is allocated for the hearing. Moving the
equipment to a different court partway through a trial can increase cost and impact on the trial
8. It is also important to manage any time zone differences as this can lead to unusual ordering
of witness or even breaking off from one witness part-way through evidence to go to the audio-
video conference center, but this is usually better than no evidence at all.
9. No guidance given as to from where witnesses residing abroad will give evidence from.
From the above discussion it can be seen that ‘audio-video conference’ evidence is an option
which can be marshaled to the aid of clients but only with careful planning and preparation.
Furthermore, training should be given for lawyers, judges and witnesses on how to give and
take video evidences. Undoubtedly, a proper planning, preparation and implementation of
giving evidence via audio-video conference would definitely save considerable time and cost for
our clients which is what all clients are extremely interested in.