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Remote court hearings – what to expect and how to prepare

Remote court

With thanks to Hannah Cosgrove of Latta & Co Solicitors who supported the drafting of this blog.

Since the start of the pandemic, many court hearings which would usually take place in the physical courtroom have moved to a remote setting. Remote hearings have been taking place by telephone or video-conferencing call. This has been an adjustment for everyone: clients, witnesses, solicitors and the courts themselves.

With the easing of lockdown restrictions at the end of April 2021, it has been announced that criminal court hearings will be in person again, but the vast majority of civil (non-criminal) court cases will continue remotely.

We understand that having a court hearing over the phone or by video call from your own home might seem daunting. This is why we’ve put together some information and recommendations which you might find helpful if you will be attending a remote hearing.

1. Location

2. Giving evidence

3. Requesting 'special measures'

4. Technical issues

5. Language interpreter

6. Hybrid hearings/attending court in person

The court/tribunal and the solicitors involved will usually try to be as accommodating as possible. However, they can only make arrangements if they know about something you need. We strongly recommend that you make any requests and ask all your questions as soon as you can to avoid delays in your case.

If you receive a letter from the court/tribunal, use the contact details in the letter rather than general contact telephone numbers. This should mean you get through to the right person who can help.

Above all, remember that everyone is still adapting to working in this way –there are no hard and fast rules, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.

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