Some court hearing will be available on the Internet soon

A pilot plan is putting the cases at three courtrooms in San José online. The audience are those in the Poder Judicial, but officials plan to expand the audience to the public.

The courtrooms are that of the Tribunal Contencionso Administrativo, where the actions of the government are contested. The project takes advantage of the trend toward oral arguments in the courtrooms.

In the past the bulk of a court case was argued with paperwork files, and this would not have made good television.

The Poder Judicial said that 115 courtrooms in the country already are wired for television, and taping a trial is usual. But now the events inside the courtroom will be available elsewhere.

When the video feeds become public, viewers should not expect Perry Mason or the antics of any of the other television lawyer shows. They also may not know the background of a case. Court files in Costa Rica are sealed to all but the litigants and their lawyers.

Unlike other countries, in Costa Rica a citizen cannot read the various filing of a case, which is why a lot of criminal actions disappear into the judicial system and the resolutions never are made public.

The new television system was the centerpiece of a visit by foreign judges to Costa Rica Friday. The videos play on computers but the feeds are password protected

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