Video-call technology such as Skype and FaceTime could be used to allow criminal defendants to take part in court hearings from home, the most senior judge in England and Wales has suggested.
Lord Thomas, who succeeded Lord Judge as the new Lord Chief Justice in October, suggested lawyers, prisoners and defendants released on bail could all communicate with the court using the technology.
Speaking at his first press conference since his appointment, Lord Thomas said using "innovative" applications such as Skype would be an effective method for reducing the cost of "expensive" administrative hearings held in the run up to a trial.
He said: "There are innovative ways of actually providing open justice bearing in mind things such as Skype and Facetime. We need to loosen up our use of Skype and Facetime, which current IT systems don't really allow.