A Canadian lawyer has linked the increasing popularity of online dating to the growing use of video links in divorce courts.
William Leahy is based in Halifax, in the eastern province of Nova Scotia. Talking to CBC News, he claimed to have seen a surge in the number of divorces featuring testimony by video link, as a result of couples from widely separated regions meeting online and subsequently marrying.
“You have to have that kind of technical advance in divorce to make up for the technical advance in getting together,” he explained. “You’ll have one person wanting to go all the way back to Texas or California, and the question is where is the child going to reside under those circumstances? When that happens we often have lawsuits that are in part conducted over the internet.”
Canadian family courts are most likely to accept video testimony from witnesses and third parties involving in disputes, Mr Leahy continued.
“It’s very expensive to fly that witness to Nova Scotia, so we’ll set up a video feed so that that witness can testify here in Nova Scotia while remaining in California or Texas. Just a few years ago that was unthinkable.”
The lawyer’s claims were echoed by law professor Rollie Thompson of nearby Dalhousie University. He said the increasing use of video links in courtrooms raised certain legal questions that still lacked a clear answer.
“Our system of resolution of disputes works on the assumption that both parties are present. Both parties testify, both parties do so in the solemnity and the special conditions of a courtroom. The more you move away from that and allow people to testify by way of cellphone or video conferencing, the more you lose many of those things.”
He cited the courtroom oath, asking whether this has the same meaning when given by someone who is not physically present before the judge.