The introduction of video communication technologies at the French Appeal Court for asylum case hearings

Christian Licoppe
Telecom ParisTech

In order to be able to hear asylum demands done in overseas territories, and to minimize the cost of sending officials to hear cases there, the appeal asylum court in Paris is increasingly developing the use of video-mediated technologies. After developing this process we discuss how this allowed us to constitute a significant corpus of video-recordings of asylum court hearings for the purpose of research. We show two types of issues in courtroom proceedings which are affected by video communication and remote participation, and which have moral and political implications. First the introduction of video communication technology leads to the emergence of new practical and normative concerns regarding the visibility of participants and the framing of video shots. Second the resources available to different kinds of participants with respect to the organization of turn-taking and the regulation of speech flow in question-answer sequence (which impinges in the expression of the asylum seeker’s voice in the proceedings) are reshaped. Finally we argue that this development is one in a larger shift regarding the audio and recording of hearings, which makes relevant the development of innovative and automatic/systematic digital methods for the analysis of large datasets of video-recorded hearing, both for the practical purposes of courtroom professionals, and for the kind of research-relevant analytical concerns presented here.

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