One of the most significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the administration of justice has been the shift to virtual hearings and mediations. In mid-2020, Baker McKenzie and KPMG UK surveyed civil and commercial court users to explore their experience and perceptions of virtual hearings and mediations and to help answer a key question: are virtual hearings and mediations here to stay?

70% of the participants said they would prefer to have virtual interim hearings in the future, with over 65% in favour of all hearings of less than one day not involving cross-examination or very complex documentation being virtual. By contrast, less than 20% of survey participants were in favour of a final hearing being heard remotely (with 48% preferring an in person hearing).

With the benefit of several months of practical experience, and as part of London International Disputes Week 2021, Baker McKenzie and KPMG UK teamed up with Stevens & Bolton and XXIV Old Buildings to explore three key questions: Are virtual hearings and mediations here to stay? What advantages might they have? What challenges do they present? Due to their professional backgrounds, the panel was able to provide first-hand views from the perspectives of: the judiciary, clients, solicitors, advocates and experts.

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