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ICA Satellite Courtrooms recognized by National Center for State Courts

West Virginia Press Association

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) has recognized the Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) of West Virginia’s satellite courtroom project as a model for state courts.

The project was one of 12 in the nation chosen as part of NCSC’s Court Space Innovation reDesign Challenge.

“The satellite courtrooms have worked almost seamlessly and have been well received by the litigants and the public,” said ICA Chief Judge Thomas Scarr. “Attorneys and self represented litigants appreciate the savings in time and money that the satellite courtrooms provide. From the perspective of the ICA Judges, there is no difference in the quality or impact of arguments whether they are presented in person or remotely from a satellite courtroom.”

ICA litigants can choose whether to present arguments in the main ICA courtroom in Charleston or in satellite courtrooms in Petersburg, Grant County; Weston, Lewis County; Berkeley Springs, Morgan County; Beckley, Raleigh County; and New Martinsville, Wetzel County. The Supreme Court chose those locations so that all West Virginians would be approximately within a 90-minute drive of an ICA courtroom.

Since it began operating on July 1, 2022, the ICA has received approximately 1,100 appeals, averaging 50 to-60 cases per month. Of those, the ICA has heard oral argument in 86, about 17 percent of the case considered and decided by the ICA.

Of the cases for which there have been oral arguments, 16 (approximately 19 percent) have used a satellite courtroom. The 16 cases have involved all the primary categories of the ICA’s jurisdiction: Workers’ Compensation: 50 percent (8 cases), Family Law: 31 percent (5 cases), Civil: 13 percent (2 cases), and Administrative: 6 percent (1 case).

“These numbers support the goal and expectation that cases with significant financial challenges, particularly workers’ compensation and family law cases, benefit from the remote and hybrid satellite hearing options. Therefore, the satellite courtrooms increase access to the court,” the NCSC report says.

For more information about the other 11 projects, see the recently-released report on the NCSC website: Court Space Innovation reDesign Challenge | NCSC. For more information about West Virginia’s project, see West Virginia Intermediate Court of Appeals (ncsc.org).

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