Authors

Andrew Howell

Partner

Read More

Laurence Lieberman

Partner

Read More

Stuart Broom

Senior counsel

Read More
Authors

Andrew Howell

Partner

Read More

Laurence Lieberman

Partner

Read More

Stuart Broom

Senior counsel

Read More

26 March 2020

Disputes Quick Read – 14 of 23 Insights

Disputes Quick Read: Embracing remote hearings – the experience to date

  • QUICK READ

There is (understandably) a deluge of guidance being issued on a daily basis by the various courts which are grappling with the practical impact of COVID-19 on the operation of the justice system.

The courts have, it seems, embraced the adoption of technology to resolve disputes, be that conference calls or video conferences over Skype, Zoom or similar applications. All judicial laptops now have Skype for Business enabled.

On 25 March 2020, the Supreme Court issued its first judgment remotely – giving us a fine view of what we assume to be Lord Justice Kerr's private collection of law reports – and in a well-publicised success in the family courts, Mostyn J completed a five party final hearing with evidence from 11 witnesses and the press attending remotely.

While there have been some teething problems (and these will no doubt continue) the direction of travel is clear. Discretion ultimately resides with the judiciary regarding how or whether a hearing should proceed, but they and the parties have shown a willingness to cooperate and to facilitate remote hearings.

When faced with adjourning a trial last week, Teare J reportedly commented that the default position is that hearings should be conducted with one or more participants attending remotely, the court should take an optimistic approach to how this will work, and it is the duty of all parties to seek to co-operate. That must be the right approach in these difficult times.

The protocol for remote hearings in the civil justice system (published on 20 March 2020) sets out some practical steps. It encourages parties to take a proactive approach to forthcoming hearings, hold short directions hearings (if necessary) to discuss and agree how best to use the technology, and prepare and file electronic bundles.

A new practice direction (51Y) was issued on 25 March 2020, providing further guidance on video or audio hearings during the pandemic, dealing largely with privacy aspects of remote hearings.

As experience grows, guidance can be fine-tuned. In the meantime, parties and the judiciary should continue to work together to find practical solutions, often backed by technology, to the operational problems caused by the current outbreak.

In this series

Disputes & investigations

Disputes Quick Read: Care required when drafting SPA claim notices

QUICK READ

by Multiple authors

Disputes & investigations

Disputes Quick Read: The latest on Unexplained Wealth Orders

QUICK READ

by Multiple authors

Disputes & investigations

Disputes Quick Read: Tomlin Orders – ensuring the confidentiality of settlement terms

QUICK READ

by Multiple authors

Disputes & investigations

Disputes quick read: climate change activism by litigation

by Multiple authors

Disputes & investigations

Disputes quick read: pilot error?

by Andrew Howell

Call To Action Arrow Image

Latest insights in your inbox

Subscribe to newsletters on topics relevant to you.

Subscribe
Subscribe

Related Insights

weight-scale
Disputes & investigations

Disputes Quick Read: Law on interest applicable to US dollar awards reaffirmed

16 October 2020
Quick read

by Laurence Lieberman

Click here to find out more
dartboard
Disputes & investigations

Disputes Quick Read: Care required when drafting SPA claim notices

23 September 2020
QUICK READ

by multiple authors

Click here to find out more
tunnel
Disputes & investigations

FRC's Annual Enforcement Review 2020 – our thoughts

11 August 2020
IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS

by Andrew Howell and Georgina Jones

Click here to find out more