Bond Solon's survey finds courts are less "Theatrical" remotely

Bond Solon, the UK's leading legal training and information company specifically for non-lawyers, have recently conducted a survey alongside The Times and have found that Expert’s are not being “grilled” in online hearings.
Expert Witnesses have revealed that Barristers are less aggressive in cross-examination during remote / online hearings because the “theatre” of the courtroom isn’t in place.

The survey shows that more than 40 per cent of those who had been cross-examined in remote / online hearings during the pandemic said that the approach of barristers was less forceful.

“It is more difficult for the cross-examining lawyer to control the flow of the courtroom encounter online,” says Mark Solon, founder of Bond Solon, he continued that Barristers;  “may also have found aggressive courtroom dramatics do not actually work online. A booming voice, intimidating stare or a look of disbelief appear silly on a small screen.”

Bond Solon’s survey brought new warnings that in the future advocates “may need a more forensic approach and find more screen-appropriate methods of disconcerting a witness to discredit their evidence. They will need new online advocacy skills and experts will have to keep up.”

Researchers found that around 50% of the experts who had given evidence orally  online were of the view that it was given the same weight as in a live hearing. 

Bond Solon stated that, ironically, the drawbacks of the technology may have contributed to increased attention. “This may be because a judge or jury needs to be very attentive as the image of the witness is in two dimensions and looks much smaller than when seen in person in the courtroom, and the sound may not be as clear,” he speculates.

Despite this, courtroom experts are adamant that improvements are needed if the digital revolution in the courts — accelerated by measures to combat the effects of the pandemic — is to continue without justice being damaged in the long term.

Bond Solon says that it is crucial that “the technology used by courts is of high quality so those involved can hear and see clearly. Interruptions by an impatient cross-examining lawyer also appear ruder on a TV monitor, and lawyers may have learnt to be silent as a witness speaks, and this could give the impression to the witness that their evidence is given greater weight.”

The survey results were welcomed amid concerns raised over the quality and ability of some expert witnesses giving evidence remotely.

More than 60 per cent of the experts surveyed during the pandemic conducted about half of their work remotely. Bond Solon states that as a “seismic shift from before Covid. It has implications for how investigations and examinations are conducted, how instructions are taken and how evidence is given.” This has raised questions about budgeting; travel costs and arrangements are lower therefor giving the Expert Witness the availability to take more instructions as an Expert or as their normal day job.

“This also means that the time saved can allow the expert to have more time for their day job and the ability to take more instructions, whether experts can do as good a job as they used to”.

Will this lead to changes in how Expert Witnesses are instructed, reports conducted, and will deliverance continue to be remote?

Read the full survey here: The-Times-and-Bond-Solon-Expert-Witness-Survey-2021.pdf (

Posted on November 30th 2021

Loading... Updating page...