London solicitor offers video link-up systems

A LONDON solicitor has set up a video conferencing company aimed at solicitors and barristers.

Kaye Tesler & Co senior partner Michael Kaye has launched a company called Video Conferencing for Lawyers (VCL), which aims to cut lawyers' travelling costs by offering them a system of communicating by video links.

VCL offers the service in two ways – either through a small videophone for one-to-one use or a "top box" which sits on top of a conventional television set.

The "top box" costs about £3,500 and the videophone costs £1,500 and offers 15-frames-a-second quality.

Kaye said that it currently takes him two hours to get to a conference with counsel in the Temple and that the equipment would cut out this travelling time.

VCL demonstrated the new equipment last month by providing a video link between the London chambers of Anthony Arlidge QC and retired Court of Appeal judge Sir Frederick Lawton, who now lives in Yorkshire, at a reception to mark the chambers' move from 5 King's Bench Walk to 8 Red Lion Court. Lawton, an 86-year-old founder member of the chambers, was unable to make the journey from Yorkshire but could "attend" via interactive video links, said Kaye.

The Bar Council is currently piloting a video conferencing system called the Bar Telecom Network which allows barristers to bring procedural applications before Queen's Bench Masters via video links, as well as connecting 40 chambers and some prisons. The pilot is due to finish on 19 December.

Bar services and IT committee secretary John Horne said he would be meeting with Kaye to discuss the initiative next month but declined to comment on how much installation of the Bar Telecom Network would cost to individual chambers.