Remote Hearings for Civil Business in Civil Courts
As publicly stated by the Chief Justice in a statement issued on 25 March 2020, the Judiciary has been actively considering other alternative modes by hearing submissions by telephone, by video-conferencing or similar means of visual aid and generally making use of technology. In doing so, the Judiciary has been taking an incremental approach.
In Phase I, starting from 3 April 2020, video-conferencing facilities (“VCF”) have been used for remote hearings for suitable civil cases of the High Court. In Phase II, starting from 15 June 2020, remote hearings by the use of VCF and telephone in civil cases have been extended to the following civil courts:
|(1)||the Court of Appeal of the High Court;|
|(2)||the Court of First Instance of the High Court (Judges and Masters);|
|(3)||the Competition Tribunal;|
|(4)||the District Court (Judges and Masters), including (5) the Family Court|
In Phase III, starting from 2 January 2021, remote hearings by the use of VCF and telephone in civil cases will be extended to the Labour Tribunal and Small Claims Tribunal. The use of a “browser-based” VCF option will also be introduced to provide a low-cost option for court users to connect to the court for VCF hearings.
Court users may wish to refer to the following Guidance Notes for the relevant practice and the technical specifications for the applicable technical requirements –
- Guidance Note for Remote Hearings for Civil Business in the High Court (Phase 1: Video Conferencing Facilities) (html / pdf)
- Guidance Note for Remote Hearings for Civil Business in the Civil Courts (Phase 2: Expanded Video-Conferencing Facilities and Telephone) (html / pdf)
- Guidance Note for Remote Hearings for Civil Business in the Civil Courts (Phase 3: Wider Video-Conferencing Facilities and Telephone) (html / pdf)
- Technical Specifications of the Judiciary’s Video Conferencing Facilities for Remote Hearings for Civil Business (html / pdf)
Court users may wish to note that these Guidance Notes and technical specifications may be subject to amendment and will continue until further notice.
Case parties and their legal representatives may refer to this link for a video clip which demonstrates how the remote hearings (with the use of VCF), in particular the pre-hearing tests, are conducted.