Court and tribunal hearings and Coronavirus (Covid 19)
Court and tribunal hearings and the Coronavirus
Since the outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid 19) the court service is working to get a lot more hearings up and running without people needing to go to court. The situation is changing all the time so if you are expecting to have a court or tribunal hearing in the next few days, weeks or months the court should contact you by email or phone to let you know what is being arranged. You can also find information and guidance on the gov.uk website.
The judge will decide if your hearing should happen over the phone or by video. They will take into account any problems you might face by the hearing going ahead by phone or video. So it is really important to contact the court and tell them about anything that might make a phone or video hearing difficult for you such as a disability. If you have Coronavirus and feel you are too ill to take part in your hearing by phone or by video you need to ask the court to delay the hearing. There is information on how to do this on the gov.uk website.
If you do need to take part in a phone or video hearing working out how to use the technology may be new to you. To join by phone or video, you will need a phone or a computer with internet access, a webcam and microphone (most laptops and all smart phones have these built in). You will also need a quiet space where you will not be disturbed during the hearing. The court will contact you to tell you how to join the hearing. The court service has a useful guide on what to do if your hearing has to take place by phone or video call.
Cases in the civil court
If you are involved in a case in the civil court and the other side has a lawyer it is likely that the court will say the shorter hearings need to happen over the phone or by video. The other side’s lawyer (if they have one) will be asked to make all the arrangements so that it works smoothly on the day.
If you want to read more about the rules on the use of phone and video for civil hearings you can read the civil procedure rules practice direction 23A - applications.
Cases in the family court
If you are involved in a family case you may also have hearings by phone or via video. The person making an application to the court can ask for a hearing to be by phone. The court will usually only order the hearing to take place by phone if everyone who is entitled to be at the hearing agrees. Usually the court will ask the person making the application to make all the arrangements so that it works smoothly on the day.
If you want to read more about the rules on telephone hearings in family cases you can read the family procedure rules practice direction 18A