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Hawk-Eye to make an appearance in court?

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Hawk-Eye to make an appearance in court?

Hawk-Eye technology has long been something of a contentious issue among the sports enthusiast. Absurd as it may seem now, its introduction into test cricket back in 2001 caused something of a kerfuffle among purists. The half-dozen high-resolution cameras trained on the ball were thought to be a threat to the authority of the umpire – surely it was for Dickie Bird to call ‘not out’, not someone sitting in a booth surrounded by screens some distance from the smack of leather on willow?

Hawk-Eye is now used in many sports, not least tennis, where it offers the at-home viewer an umpire’s view from the safety of the sofa. But recent developments – warmly welcomed by sports injury lawyers – suggest that Hawk-Eye might soon be making the leap from tennis court to legal court.

Nowhere is more rife with sports injury than the rugby field, and this year’s rugby world cup will see Hawk-Eye put to a dual purpose: not just examining a try from every conceivable angle, but assessing the severity of head injuries – and, potentially, any culpability in the incident.

As the BBC has reported, Hawk-Eye SMART replay tech will not only improve the accuracy and speed of officials’ decisions on fouls and penalties, but will be used by medics to identify and review impacts to the players’ heads.

Welcoming the news, chief exec of World Rugby Brett Gosper said the use of Hawk-Eye in this manner would have ‘clear benefits for the match official team, the medical team and fans around the world’. ‘The integrity of player welfare’ was, he said, central to the sport (welcome news for those of us who feel a little queasy at the sight of the notorious ‘cauliflower ear’).

Sports injury lawyers can only welcome the news, which will be of tremendous value when assessing personal injury cases relating to sports, and may well provide vital information and evidence. The implications for medics involved in the sport – and for the players themselves- are fairly far-reaching, since where there are serious head injuries Hawk-Eye’s multi-perspective recording of the incident may demonstrate whether officials have carried out their duties effectively.

At Legastat, we are at the forefront of developments in legal tech, helping law firms and chambers develop their legal practice to enable them to compete in the modern legal marketplace. If you are keen to ensure you are capitalising on the range of tech innovations available – including how best to present digital audio and visual evidence in court – contact us now.