Supreme Court cases move to videoconferencing

Hearings to be held virtually and streamed online


Credit: PA

With court buildings closed in light of the coronavirus outbreak, the UK Supreme Court has moved all hearings online, with cases available for live public streaming.

The court, and its equivalent entity for cases relating to UK overseas territories and crown dependencies, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, moved all of its hearings online from yesterday.

A tax dispute between a Mr Fowler and HM Revenue and Customs made history as the first Supreme Court case to be held entirely virtually, with the judge hearing the case and representatives of both sides connecting to one another via video link. The hearing was also screened online for the public.

The first judgement handed down via videoconference came this morning, as Lord Kerr used a video stream to uphold an appeal from Maha Elgizouli who claimed that the government had acted unlawfully in passing on to US authorities evidence about her son, El Shafee Elsheikh.

After UK authorities declined to prosecute Elsheikh – who was alleged to have been part of the Isis terror group nicknamed ‘The Beatles’ – the government handed over to the US information on him and another suspect, Alexanda Kotey, without first seeking reassurances that neither would face execution, Lord Kerr ruled.

For the time being, all further hearings and judgements will be held virtually, and can be watched at


Sam Trendall

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