Los Angeles County’s court system is expanding its technology to allow attorneys and self-represented litigants to appear remotely through audio or video appearances in certain cases starting later this month, it was announced Tuesday.
The program, called LACourtConnect, will be available first for cases involving civil settlements and probate matters on calendar starting the week of June 22.
Throughout the rest of the summer, the program will launch in phases for all limited civil, unlimited civil and complex, family law and traffic courtrooms, according to court officials.
“LACourtConnect will provide a safe and convenient alternative to coming through the courthouse doors to appear for your hearing,” Presiding Judge Kevin C. Brazile said. “As we restore court operations on June 15 and gradually resume hearings beginning June 22, we want to assure litigants and attorneys the court will open its doors with infection control measures, social distancing and face covering requirements.”
Court fees for each remote appearance will be $15 for an audio appearance, $23 for a video appearance and free for individuals with fee waivers.
Meanwhile, the court’s other remote courtroom appearance technology — court-hosted video Webex — will be expanded to new litigation areas and added to more criminal courtrooms, with remote appearance technology expected in 580 courtrooms by the end of August, according to the court.
Brazile lauded the executive officer/clerk of court, Sherri R. Carter, for her efforts in introducing technology that improves the services the court provides and “addresses these unprecedented health and safety concerns.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic — and the court’s response — will lead to lasting changes in court operations as we develop and introduce even more technology solutions to modernize the largest trial court in the nation,” Brazile said.
The program is a key element of the court’s new Here For You|Safe For You plan.
The presiding judge ordered the courts to substantially scale back operations in mid-March to comply with state and county public health directives to try to stop the spread of coronavirus.