Digital Presence in Court

Since 2002, Section 128a of the German Code of Civil Procedure (ZPO) has made it possible for parties to proceedings to participate in oral proceedings via video conferencing. In addition, there are numerous ways in which digital technologies can support the processes of the judiciary.
The interdisciplinary research project "Digital Presence in Court" deals with the legal and technical questions that arise when expanding the digital presence of the judiciary.
The aim of the project is to shed light on the possibilities of digital presence at court according to the current state of the law, but also to formulate demands on the legislator based on this and to show what necessary activities the legislator will still need in the future with regard to the digitization of the judiciary.

For example, oral proceedings or hearings can often take place without a long lead time because it is no longer necessary for participants in the proceedings to travel from a distance. In addition to the enormous time savings, this can also mean considerable cost savings if, for example, interpreters can be connected via video and do not have to travel to the site.

In addition to its use in oral proceedings, increasing digitization also offers various other opportunities to improve the day-to-day work of the judiciary as well as to simplify access for citizens. Among other things, it will be evaluated which work can be done by judges and judicial employees from their home offices without having to take mountains of files with them.
For citizens, easier electronic access to the civil justice system is to be investigated, for example by setting up a "virtual legal application center" and nationwide uniform electronic citizen access in the form of an "online portal".

However, the research project will also address completely new issues arising from digitization. For example, the extent to which digitally connected participants in proceedings must also be visible via video camera, or what effects technical disruptions in transmission have on the proceedings.

The project partners are the Chair of Legal Informatics of Prof. Dr. Sorge, the Chair of Civil Law, European and International Private Law as well as Civil Procedure Law of Prof. Dr. Gomille, the Chair of German and European Procedural and Labor Law as well as Civil Law of Prof. Dr. Weth as well as the Regional Court of Saarbrücken and the Local Courts of Ottweiler and Homburg.