Previously I wrote an article on my experience of attending court in person for the first time. You can read the article here.
A lot of the suggestions for in person hearings are also applicable to remote hearings.
Remote hearings tend to take place over Microsoft Teams. We suggest that you familiarise yourself with Teams before your hearing, and make sure your camera, microphone, and internet connection are working. It is important to remember, however, that a remote hearing is still a court hearing and you will need to behave as if you are in court.
You will need to ensure that you have the link to access the hearing beforehand. Approximately 5 minutes before the hearing starts, click on to the link. You will be led to a virtual waiting room until you are admitted to the meeting by the court.
It is usual practice for your camera to be turned on when the Judge attends with your microphone on mute unless you are speaking. This prevents background noise.
If you are having issues accessing Teams and/or the internet, you can ask to attend the hearing via telephone. The court will phone you and you will be connected to the hearing via audio. We recommend that you put yourself on mute so as not to disrupt the hearing.
Make sure you are alone in a private and confidential space where you can hear and are able to be heard. The court will ask you to confirm that you are in private and that you are not recording. If you require for someone else to be present in the room to support you, you must discuss this with your solicitor/judge beforehand so that this can be requested. You can request that your solicitor or barrister is in the same room as you if you feel it would be helpful.
As with in-person hearings, unless you are representing yourself, your lawyer will speak for you. If you need to tell your lawyer something while the hearing is happening, ensure you have agreed a method of communicating beforehand.
At the end of the hearing, do not leave until you are told to do so.
If you have any further enquiries regarding attending a remote hearing in court, please feel free to contact our Family Team and we would be happy to help.