WHEN A LITIGANT DOES NOT HAVE A COMPUTER AT COURT: WHAT IS THE PRACTICAL RESPONSE?

In  BM Electrical Solutions Ltd & Anor v Belcher [2020] EWHC 2749 (Ch) a very practical problem occurred. The court held a “hybrid” hearing, a litigant appeared in person.  The litigant in person did not have a laptop with them. This is an issue that may need to be addressed a lot.  Applicants may need to be sure that respondent litigants in person have a bundle. The “low-fi” option of simply printing a bundle out and sending it to the respondent in good time may be a more pragmatic way of dealing with this issue in place of attempting to find the litigant a computer to use in court.

“In the future, care will need to be taken that when one of the parties is appearing in person, he or she is advised by the represented party before coming to court of the need to have a laptop with him or her at court and in the event that is not possible that arrangements are made for access to a laptop for his or her use.”

THE CASE

The judge was hearing an application brought by administrators.   The applicants appeared remotely, the respondent appeared in person.  A solution was found.

 

This matter was heard as a hybrid hearing. Mr Matthew Maddison of Counsel has appeared remotely for the Company and the Liquidator, who was also remote. Mr Belcher has appeared in person in Court. This led to an early difficulty in that Mr Belcher did not have a computer with him and therefore did not have access to the electronic bundle. I am very grateful to the Court staff who lent Mr Belcher a laptop so that he could access the bundle. In the future, care will need to be taken that when one of the parties is appearing in person, he or she is advised by the represented party before coming to court of the need to have a laptop with him or her at court and in the event that is not possible that arrangements are made for access to a laptop for his or her use.”