People & Power

Online Justice

During the COVID pandemic, courts went online around the world, but at what cost to justice?

When COVID-19 first hit, the need to minimise face-to-face contact drove many of the world’s judicial systems online.

Now, in the name of cost and greater efficiency, some of them want to stay there.

But critics, many of them lawyers, say that holding trials in cyberspace can deny defendants the right to a fair hearing and remove safeguards against abuse and intimidation of arrestees in police custody.

They insist that physical interaction with a judge in court is an essential part of securing justice.

So who is right? To investigate, People and Power went to Brazil and Mexico, two countries that have embraced online justice but where fears about the risks are growing.