Bombay High Court
Bombay High Court
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Mumbai: Lawyers will have to adapt to a "hybrid" system where some work will be done through video conference instead of actual court appearance due to the coronavirus outbreak, a Bombay High Court judge said on Saturday.

In the current situation, earnings of legal professionals are also going to take a hit, said Justice Gautam Patel, delivering an online lecture on e-courts and legal practice in the times of pandemic.

"For a fairly long time, one cannot say until when, there will be some sort of hybrid system where some portion of work will be done by video-conferencing and other work will be done in courts to maximise social distancing," he said.

Lawyers need to adapt to this and invest in high-end equipment such as computers, tablets and good Internet connectivity, Justice Patel said.

Earnings will also dip, he said.

"I am expecting a situation where litigants may no longer be willing to pay the fee that they were ready to pay even as recently as January or February, and volumes (of work) will also go down," he said.

Justice Patel further said that legal professionals will also have to learn the etiquettes of appearing before court through video conference.

"You have to be careful about how you appear in a court environment. Just because you are working from home doesn't make it any less a court," he said.

People need to bring the same amount of gravitas and seriousness that they would to a regular court, he added.

Technological challenges may appear daunting, but they are not insurmountable, the judge added.

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