HMCTS: UPDATED GUIDANCE ON TELEPHONE AND VIDEO HEARINGS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK

HMCTS has updated its guidance on telephone and video hearings during the coronavirus outbreak.  The guidance is available here. 

THE CONTENTS

  1. The decision to use telephone and video hearings
  2. Using existing technology and making new technology available
  3. The rules on using video and audio technology in courts
  4. New legislation
  5. Open justice
  6. Media access to proceedings
  7. Court and tribunal users
  8. Guide to joining an audio or video hearing
  9. Oaths and affirmations
  10. Communication between legal professionals and clients
  11. Prison to court video links and new video conferencing centres
  12. Authentication
  13. Video remand hearings (VRH)

HOW TO JOIN A TELEPHONE OR VIDEO HEARING

The guidance provide details with a guide on how to join a telephone or video hearing. 

TAKING THE OATH OR AFFIRMING

The guidance also deals with the question of taking the oath or affirming in a remote hearing.

“If you are required to take an oath or to make an affirmation as part of a hearing that you are joining remotely, and would like to take an oath using a sacred object, we rely on you providing your own Holy Book or Scripture. You can also, if you wish, take an oath without a sacred object, if you consider it will still be binding on you. You can still choose to make an affirmation rather than take an oath, as you would in a physical courtroom. Regardless of how you choose to make this verbal statement of fact, you will be bound legally to tell the truth.”