Hybrid Hearings Improvement Initiative to offer insights, support to nearly 100 courts
March 29, 2023 -- Courts are reporting a variety of ongoing challenges in hybrid hearings—ranging from a lack of necessary bandwidth for clear audio and video for all participants, to the absence of consistent protocols—accordingly to early analysis from NCSC’s Hybrid Hearing Improvement Initiative (HHII). The initiative, a pilot project that kicked off last year, pairs NCSC staff and technology vendors with courts to understand the current shortcomings of hybrid hearings and identify solutions that benefit both the courts and public.
To address these and other challenges, NCSC has teamed up with technology partners Cisco (Webex), Logitech, Televic, and Zoom. The project is focusing on 12 pilot sites will test new technology solutions to improve or enhance the hybrid hearing experience. An additional 11 courts will receive technical assistance as part of the initiative.
The participating courts, which represent a broad range of demographics and jurisdictions, are working with NCSC to identify audio and video solutions and potential new delivery models such as off-site kiosks that allow participants to attend hearings without going to the courthouse. Throughout the project, NCSC is helping courts evaluate access and user experience concerns before and after solutions are implemented.
Additionally, the Hybrid Hearings Improvement Initiative is conducting a series of learning labs that provide courts with an open forum to collaborate on solutions that have been implemented to improve the court-user experience. Sixty-five courts are participating in lab sessions on topics such as equipment and software, internal processes and procedures and instructions for the public, addressing the digital divide, and funding.
The initiative is expected to end this summer with the release of final findings and recommendations. Learn more about the Hybrid Hearings Improvement Initiative at ncsc.org/hybridhearings.