If you are due to attend a Court hearing within the next few months, you may find yourself appearing via a remote platform – most likely by telephone or video. This has become the new norm for Court hearings and has been tried and tested over the last few months since lockdown began. Thanks to these remote platforms, the family Courts have been able to remain fully operational during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It is a strange concept to appear before the Court without actually being present in the Court building. Although, these remote hearings are treated with the same seriousness as though you are physically in the Court building. You must not record your hearing and will be given a warning by the Judge at the commencement of the hearing. You will also be reminded that the proceedings are private and that you should be in a room on your own.
Types of hearings
Your hearing may take place via telephone and you will be provided with the dial in details to enable you to connect to your hearing beforehand. However, some Courts work differently and will ask to be provided with your telephone number prior to the hearing so that the Court can call you. The arrangements for this will be confirmed to you prior to the hearing taking place. You will then be joined to the call where all participants will be present and the hearing will commence orally with the Judge sitting as chair person. Telephone hearings are usually used for any first hearings or case management hearings when it is not necessary for you to be physically seen by the Court.
The majority of video hearings take place via the Court’s own video platform (known as CVP). You will be provided with a link to join the hearing prior to the date of your hearing and once you are in the video call, you will see the Court room, the Judge or Magistrates, your legal representatives and your opponents. The hearing will then proceed as though you are physically in Court. CVP hearings are frequently used when evidence is being given but the Court does not feel that it is necessary for the evidence to be given in person at Court.
The Court may deem it necessary for your hearing to take place in person with an element of if being remote. This is usually when there is evidence being given that the Court feels that it is necessary to have you in Court for it to be heard. In a situation like this, the Court may ask that you and your legal representatives attend on the first day of the hearing with the other side appearing via video and the arrangements being reversed for the next day. This way, it ensures that the Court hears the evidence being given in person but it ensures that the amount of people in Court is limited to ensure social distancing.
The Court considers every case separately and will ensure that your case proceeds via the remote platform that is deemed suitable for your case.
Whatever the platform your hearing has been listed for, our specialist team are here to assist you. If you require legal assistance, get in touch to speak with one of our family law experts.
Author: Fay Jones