Virtual Criminal

Justice Network

About Virtual Criminal Justice

Since the COVID-19 pandemic the use of communication technology and digital means in criminal courtrooms around the world has increased considerably: e.g. video-links, AI, e-evidence, zoom trials and even VR courtrooms. Criminal justice systems are now facing fundamental questions: how does technology change traditional concepts of trial, such as participation, and how to properly integrate technological advances into criminal justice? Understanding the use of technology in criminal proceedings calls for a multidisciplinary approach. It is for this reason that the Virtual Criminal Justice Network has been set up.

Gadget Mockup Frames Laptop

About the network

The Virtual Criminal Justice Network is an interdisciplinary hub of researchers from fields such as criminal law, sociology, psychology, criminology and language communication to research the use of digital means in criminal proceedings. It aims at developing interdisciplinary research, exchanging ideas and bringing together experts from various disciplines.

The network was launched in Maastricht during the Symposium on Virtual Criminal Trials in June 2023 as the collaboration of Maastricht University, Tilburg University, Sydney University and Lund University.


  • Carolyn McKay (Sydney University, Australia)
  • Lisa Flower (Lund University, Sweden)
  • Christina Peristeridou (Maastricht University, the Netherlands)
  • Dorris de Vocht (Tilburg University, the Netherlands)

Flat Fill Twitter Icon
Flat Fill Twitter Icon
Flat Fill Twitter Icon
Flat Fill Twitter Icon

Projects and events

Plaats hier je logo

Silhouette of a Flock of Birds

Symposium Maastricht 2023

On 12-13 June 2023, the Virtual Criminal Trials symposium was held at Maastricht Law School in the ​Netherlands. Goal of the symposium was to gather multidisciplinary perspectives from international scholars on ​the impact of videolinks on different constitutional and procedural rights, the potential and perceived effects of ​remote justice on courtroom emotions, empathy and credibility assessment and the future of immersive virtual ​technology (such as avatars) in the courtroom.

The Symposium was an inspiring event that revealed synergies between scholars as well as subtle differences in ​approaches across countries. It was kicked off by a keynote speech from Professor Jenia Iontcheva Turner, ​SMU Law School, Dallas, Texas: ‘What lessons can be learned from the COVID experience’ and then followed by ​4 panel sessions on the following topics:

• The dynamics of the trial: courtroom interactions in a virtual session

• The outcome of the trial: judicial decision-making

• The fair trial context: systemic due process values

• The endless potential of technology in the courtroom: how to move forward

Invited guest speakers in the different panels were: L. FLower, C. McKay, E. Rowden, P. Gibbs, S. Landstrom, M. ​Thommen, J. Hodgson, D. de Vocht, M. Rossner and C. Peristeridou. Participants appeared in-person and online ​from inter alia Australia, Belgium, England, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and United States.

Slides of the various presentations will be made available soon

Conference Lund 2024

On 10th and 11th of June 2024, the second conference of our Network took place in ​Lund, Sweden. It was an exciting and inspiring event with great presentations and a lot of ​room for discussion. A wonderful keynote address was delivered by our very own ​Carolyn McKay who spoke on virtual criminal justice and vulnerability. In the panels that ​followed, we were able to discuss the topic of virtual criminal justice from different ​perspectives: the practice of working in virtual courtrooms in different jurisdictions, the ​giving of evidence in virtual courtrooms, emotions and experience in virtual courtrooms, ​due process in virtual courtrooms, transnational virtual courtrooms and the conference ​was closed with a fascinating session focusing on courtroom technology of the future.

Invited guest speakers in the different panels were: Dorris de Vocht, Nina Immonen, Anni ​Lietonen, Lennart Johansson, Marcus Larsson, Emma Olsson, Dan Jasinski, Sławomir ​Steinborn, Maciej Fingas, Dawid Marko, Piotr Rogoziński, Shailesh Kumar, Lisa Flower, ​Jessica Jacobson, Amy Kirby, Isabel Schoultz, Nina Törnqvist, Fanny Holm, Ashlee ​Beazley, Anna Pivaty, Lorenzo Bernardini, Christina Peristeridou, Karolina Kremens, Saskia ​Hufnagel, Cloé Dubuc, Avni Bahri, Arshia Sana and Volker Settgast

Participants appeared in-person and online from inter alia Australia, Belgium, England, ​the Netherlands, Sweden, Austria, Poland, Finland, Italy and Poland.

A warm thank you to all participants – online and onsite – who made this conference ​such a wonderful event and to Riksbankens Jubileumfond for funding this conference. ​Keep an eye on our website for more events to come.


  • McKay, C., Macintosh, K. (forthcoming 2023). Digital Vulnerability: People-in-prison, videoconferencing and the digital criminal justice system. Journal of ​Criminology
  • McKay, C., Macintosh, K. (forthcoming 2023). Accessing Digitalised Criminal Justice from Prison: Communication, Effective Participation and Digital Vulnerability. ​Newcastle Law Review
  • McKay, C., Macintosh, K. (2023). Digital Criminal Courts: The Place or Space of (Post)pandemic Justice. In Russell G. Smith, Rick Sarre, Lennon Yao-Chung ​Chang, Laurie Yiu-Chung Lau (Eds.), Cybercrime in the Pandemic Digital Age and Beyond. Palgrave Studies in Cybercrime and Cybersecurity, (pp. 193-208). ​Cham: Palgrave Macmillan
  • McKay, C. (2022). Digital Justice and Video Links: Connecting and Conflating Courtroom and Carceral Space. In Kirsty Duncanson and Emma Henderson (Eds.), ​Courthouse Architecture, Design and Social Justice, (pp. 191-121). Abingdon: Routledge
  • McKay, C. (2022). Remote Access Technologies, Clinical Evaluations of People-in-Prison and Digital Vulnerability. Recht der Werkelijkheid: Journal of Empirical ​Research on Law in Action, 43(2), 68-88
  • McKay, C., Blake, R. (2022). Cross-examination and remote access technologies: a changing calculus? Bar News: The Journal of the NSW Bar Association, ​Autumn, 9-10
  • McKay, C. (2022). The carceral automaton: digital prisons and technologies of detention. International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 10(4), ​100-119
  • McKay, C. (2020). Glitching justice: Audio visual links and the sonic world of technologised courts. Law Text Culture, 24, 364-404.
  • McKay, C. (2020). Predicting risk in criminal procedure: actuarial tools, algorithms, AI and judicial decision-making. Current Issues in Criminal Justice, 32(1), 22-39
  • McKay, C. (2018). The Pixelated Prisoner: Prison Video Links, Court 'Appearance' and the Justice Matrix. Oxon: Routledge
  • McKay, C. (2018). Digital Access to Justice from Prison: Is There a Right to Technology? Criminal Law Journal, 42, 303-321
  • McKay, C. (2018). Video Links from Prison: Court "Appearance" within Carceral Space. Law, Culture and the Humanities, 14(2), 242-262.
  • McKay, C. (2017). ‘Face-to-interface Communication: Accessing Justice by Video Link from Prison’ in Asher Flynn and Jackie Hodgson (eds), Access to Justice ​and Legal Aid: Comparative Perspectives on Unmet Legal Need (Hart Publishing, 2017)
  • McKay, C. (2016). Pixels, screens and prison video links: changing how lawyers deal with clients. Law Society Journal, December, 24-25.
  • McKay, C. (2016). Video Links from Prison: Permeability and the Carceral World. International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 5(1), 21-37

  • Flower, L., Klosterkamp S., & Rowden, E. Video links and Eyework in Flower, L. & Klosterkamp, S. (Eds) (in press, 2023) Courtroom Ethnography: Exploring ​contemporary approaches, fieldwork and challenges. Palgrave: London. (pp. 1-17)

On courtroom digitalization:

  • Flower, L. (online first 2023). Live blogs can’t handle the truth: A contemporary cross-cultural consideration of transparency and procedural justice. Oñati Socio-​Legal Series. 3: 1-29, 2023
  • Flower, L. (2023). Exploring the emotional challenges of work life digitalization. Emotions & Society. 5(1): 2-9
  • Flower, L. (2023). Constructing clickable criminal trials: How trials and legal professionals are framed in news reports. Emotions & Society, 5(1): 48-66
  • Flower, L. & Ahlefeldt, M.S. (2021). The criminal trial as a live event: Exploring how and why live blogs change the professional practices of judges, defence lawyers ​and prosecutors. Media, Culture and Society 43(8): 1480-1496

On courtroom interactions:

  • Flower, L. (2019a). Interactional Justice: The role of emotions in the performance of loyalty. Abingdon: Routledge
  • Flower, L., Doing Loyalty: Defense Lawyers’ Subtle Dramas in the Courtroom.” in Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. 47(2): 226-254

On courtroom ethnography:

  • Flower, L., “Rumbling Stomachs and Silent Crying: Mapping and Reflecting Emotions in the Sensory Landscape of the Courthouse” in Sensory Penalities: ​Exploring the Senses in Spaces of Punishment and Social Control". Herrity, K., Schmidt, B. E. & Warr, J. (Eds). Bingley: Emerald. (pp. 159-174)
  • Klosterkamp, S. & Flower, L. Introduction to Courthouse Ethnography in Flower, L. & Klosterkamp, S. (Eds) (in press 2023) Courthouse Ethnography: Exploring ​contemporary approaches, fieldwork and challenges. Palgrave: London. (pp. 1-9)

Conversation on research:

  • In a new episode of the 'Frontiers in Conflict Resolution Conversation Series' by the Institutions for Conflict Resolution research group of Radboud University ​Nijmegen Anna Pivaty has a conversation with Carolyn McKay. McKay - co-founder of the International Virtual Criminal Justice Network - is a Senior Research ​Fellow at the University of Sydney Law School and co-director of the Sydney Institute of Criminology. They talk about McKay's research into technologies in ​justice, and especially her highly acclaimed monograph, ‘The Pixelated Prisoner: Prison video links, court ‘appearance’ and the justice matrix’. The conversation ​can be viewed here: Frontiers in Conflict Resolution Conversation Series' episode 3: Carolyn McKay | Radboud University (

  • Peristeridou, C. & De Vocht, D. (2023), D., I'm not a cat! Remote criminal justice and a human-centred approach to the legitimacy of the trial . Maastricht Journal of ​European and Comparative Law, 1-10. Advance online publication,
  • De Vocht, D. L. F. (2022), Trials by video link after the pandemic: The pros and cons of the expansion of virtual justice. China-EU Law Journal, 8(1-2), 33-44, ​
  • De Vocht, D. (2023), Niet omdat het moet maar omdat het kan: hoe verder met telehoren in het Nederlandse strafproces?, Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Strafrecht, ​3
  • Peristeridou, C., de Vocht, D., & Pivaty, A. (2021), Het digitale strafproces: Een procedural justice perspectief. Strafblad, 2, 50-57, ​
  • Peristeridou, C., & De Vocht, D. (2021), Remote justice en een kindvriendelijk strafproces: De potentiële effecten van videolinks voor jeugdige verdachten. ​Tijdschrift voor Familie- en Jeugdrecht, 238-241

Get involved

Social Network Icon

If you are interested in joining the network,

please register HERE