Australia: Why the future of the legal system is eHearings

The legal profession is notorious for lagging behind other industries when it comes to innovation. However, a wave of new technologies is now available which can revolutionise the way the legal system works.

Here are some of the numerous benefits to integrating cutting-edge tech into your next case.

Benefits for Document Management

Firstly, it is possible to access the latest document version at any time and anywhere. Instead of lugging around reams of paper or using email to update a hard drive with relevant documents, a cloud-based database can store and group an entire hearing book digitally. The technology can design the workspace to specification, including creating groups of users with different accessibility to secure evidence.

Team members can also review, annotate and comment 24/7 from anywhere in the world using a sophisticated cloud-based system. Any comments are shared in real time to all team members.

Another benefit of today's technology is the ability to create and order a trial bundle and automatically create an index, without any internet connection. This is an asset for time poor counsel.

Also, documents in an eHearings system are now searchable on almost any criteria imaginable, including words or phrases in the document as well as metadata behind the document. This is in contrast to the traditional digital file structure where a name or date of a file is needed to search.

Now, search results can be grouped together, downloaded or narrowed down by other criteria to find the files quickly.

Benefits in Witness Management

Getting a witness to a hearing can be challenging. Travel time, particularly if the witness' schedule doesn't line up with the court or arbitration centre, can significantly delay proceedings. The cost of delay, plus flights, accommodation and meals for your witness, can strain the deepest pockets. Today, a video conference team can facilitate testimony from anywhere in the world, so there's no need for travel. The team can even manage the tech set up at a witness' home or workplace.

Often, witnesses in court have experienced trauma. Even those able and willing to give testimony may struggle with the intimidating language, rituals and procedures in court. An eHearing set-up can alleviate this pressure. Witnesses can testify from somewhere they feel comfortable, such as their home.

Benefits for Evidence Presentation

Although electronic records have existed for years, in the past, email chains, files and digital media needed to be printed out and circulated before a judge could consider it or a witness could be questioned on it. Rifling through folders every time a document is referenced wastes time. Very quickly, it adds up to thousands of lost dollars. With an offline, coded document system, an eHearing operator can retrieve documents in seconds and display them on monitors in the hearing for everyone to view simultaneously.

Transcript services allow everyone to keep track of every word said during proceedings and review them later when the transcript is uploaded to the shared workspace. Software is installed on devices and accessed in the hearing or remotely by anyone with the login credentials and is managed by specialised on-site staff.

It takes enough time to read and consider hundreds of thousands of pages without wasting time frantically flipping through them in court. Transporting trolley-loads of documents to and from court offers further challenges. A hyperlinked hearing book makes finding documents much quicker.

Hyperlinked indices of every document can be prepared in a hearing book and made to design specifications that allows everyone to quickly find documents and their metadata, and open them with a single click.

Management of evidence is a logistical difficulty. Ensuring that the jury only sees evidence alongside contextualisation by counsel and don't draw premature conclusions is challenging. An additional challenge is allowing juries to easily move between documents in the confines of the jury box when given huge, unwieldy evidence binders. A digital jury book significantly simplifies evidence management.

Digital jury books use password-protected tiers of evidence that give the judge and parties control over which evidence is viewed and when. In-built security procedures lockdown all networks and outputs from the devices, ensuring document security. Everyone in proceedings can annotate the documents and move between unlocked documents, allowing jurors to find documents quickly.

Making Hearings Truly Public

Unfortunately, not everyone interested in a public proceeding is able to physically attend it. Restrictions of location, work, mobility and transport may limit the actual transparency of proceedings if the only access is in person. Web-casting technology removes these barriers and truly makes hearings public.

eHearings can reduce costs, increase efficiency and give everyone more time to focus on the content of the case. With flexibility in applying the different technologies, crafting a suitable eHearing to accommodate any requirement is easy. The future of proceedings is eHearings – and the technology is available today.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions