A Colombian court this month hosted its first legal trial in the metaverse, and now hopes to experiment again with virtual reality, authorities told Reuters.
At the two-hour hearing held by Colombia’s Magdalena Administrative court, participants in a traffic dispute appeared as avatars in a virtual courtroom. Magistrate Maria Quinones Triana’s avatar dressed in black legal robes.
The country is among the earliest worldwide to test real legal hearings in the metaverse, immersive virtual reality to make digital spaces feel more lifelike, often with avatars representing each participant.
“It felt more real than a video call,” Quinones told Reuters on Friday, describing the metaverse experience as amazing.
The case brought by a regional transport union against the police will now proceed partly in the metaverse, potentially including the verdict, Quiones said. She did not rule out metaverse hearings elsewhere.
While legal trials have increasingly moved to video meetings hosted by Zoom and Google, few have experimented with the metaverse, a space that Meta (META.O), Microsoft (MSFT.O), and other tech giants are racing to build.
Early examples of interviews and meetings in the metaverse have been mocked for often-clunky, cartoonish visualizations.
The magistrate described the experience as “amazing.” She said, “It felt more real than a video call.”
Nonetheless, Colombia’s court proceedings on Feb 15 — streamed to Youtube — went off without too much of a glitch, bar some dizzying camera movement and some distorted movements.
Quiones reiterated the constitutional legitimacy of the virtual tribunal but acknowledged that the experiment had not been popular, citing 70% disapproval among viewers.
Juan David Gutierrez, a public policy professor at Colombia’s University of Rosario, said the use of the metaverse in legal proceedings has a long way to go
Colombia is one of the first countries to hold a legal hearing in the metaverse.
Quiones agreed that costs and accessibility needed to be discussed. But she advocated for the metaverse in cases of abuse for example, where participants can share a space without having to physically see each other.