When the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a statewide judicial emergency last year that closed courthouses, the courts struggled with how to conduct trials that were both fair and public. Now, many who have been involved with adapting court proceedings for the COVID world say that maintaining certain pandemic workarounds beyond the pandemic could improve both transparency and access to justice.

A group of advocates for public access to courts spoke Tuesday on a panel titled “Remote Court Proceedings and Public Access: Lessons Learned During the Pandemic,” hosted by Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts and the Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law. They discussed how trials had to change to make room for COVID precautions and how those changes necessitated adaptations to preserve citizens’ constitutional right to a public trial.