COVID-19 - The official guidance on remote hearings; early engagement is key to success

24 March 2020. Published by Geraldine Elliott, Partner and David Cran, Partner

The courts are trying to conduct "business as usual" as much as possible in this challenging climate. The latest official guidance, published on Friday, covers remote hearings in all Civil Courts in England & Wales; it relates to all types of hearings – applications, trials and appeals.

Click here for the relevant document. The key practical points are:

1. early engagement between the parties and the Court as to the upcoming hearing is key (will it go ahead/be adjourned, using what technology, recording of hearing, open to the public, etc?);

2. electronic bundles (only containing documents essential to the hearing);

3. conduct of the hearing itself (making sure the technology works/is robust – the guidance recognises there may be teething troubles, and urges parties to be sympathetic to any difficulties faced).