The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a significant shift in the way that the courts operate and made remote hearings a necessity. However, despite the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, more and more hearings are now being conducted online, with all the parties to join remotely. This is normally done by simply clicking on a link provided by the courts to join an online Zoom-like system, called the Cloud Video Platform (CVP).
Remote hearings are now becoming part of the day-to-day legal world, as there are so many positives to come from it. They offer a significant level of convenience as parties do not have to travel to court, which can be inconvenient, time-consuming and expensive. Joining remotely allows parties to attend the hearing from the comfort of their own home or office.
Here at CooperBurnett LLP, we offer our clients and witnesses the choice to join remotely from their choice of location or, if they wish to do so, they can come into our office where we make all the necessary arrangements for them.
We have a dedicated conference room which, as and when required, acts as a virtual courtroom. This has a large screen at the front of the room, which is used for conducting the hearing. There is a wide-angle camera lens which means that almost the entire room is visible on camera to the Judge, eliminating the danger that witnesses may be prompted or assisted when giving evidence. It also allows the Judge to keep an eye on everyone present at the hearing. There is a high-quality microphone which allows sound to be picked up from anywhere within the virtual courtroom.
Having online hearings means that the courts are slowly shifting to having electronic bundles, which must meet the various requirements set by the court or tribunal. At CooperBurnett, we use a specialised electronic bundle system, BundleDocs, which has been designed specifically to allow us to prepare court-complaint electronic bundles. Various members of our litigation team are licensed and trained to use this system proficiently.
In the virtual courtroom in our office, we usually have a laptop with the electronic bundle on it for the witnesses to use as required. Additionally, to suit the needs of our clients and witnesses, we are also happy to produce hard-copy bundles for assistance during the hearing, whether they are joining remotely from home or from our office.
We can also make arrangements for our Barrister to attend our office for the hearing. If the Barrister is unable to do so and wishes to join remotely, in advance of the hearing, we ensure that we set up a direct form of communication with them should they need to ask us any questions during the hearing – this is essentially the equivalent of passing notes between the Barrister and the solicitor in court.
As the needs of the courts have shifted during the pandemic, CooperBurnett has adapted to better fit the modern legal world. We have ensured that we have the appropriate space and the best tools available to us in preparing for and attending online court hearings. The use of our virtual courtroom has already proven to be successful in remote hearings and we will continue to adapt as required, to better suit the needs of the courts and our clients.
If you would like to discuss this further, contact John Spence on email: email@example.com tel: 01892 515022.
This blog is not intended as legal advice that can be relied upon and CooperBurnett LLP does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of its contents.