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How to act puuurrrrfectly in Court: Dos and Don’ts

by Ridley&Hall in Family & Matrimonial, Uncategorized, Victoria Jones posted February 12, 2021.

The Ridley & Hall Family Team WhatsApp group has been brilliant this week. Have you seen the video on social media of the lawyer accidentally using a cat filter on Zoom before the Court? The lawyer could not work out how to remove the filter and even asked the Judge if he could proceed with filter on!

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, remote hearings have become the norm. They started out initially as telephone hearings, but as we all grew a little more confident with the technology, hearings are now regularly being conducted via video. It’s likely that this will remain the norm for many more months, and therefore we thought it was worth revisiting the Court etiquette if you find yourself attending a video hearing. This is not an exhaustive list, but we’ve highlighted the key points below:

DO

  • Do prepare yourself for the hearing. In most cases the Court will organise the hearing and choose the platform for which the case will be heard. Ensure that you or your solicitor has provided your telephone number and email address to the Court. The Court will email all participants a link or dial in details in order for you to join the hearing. We recommend that you have the platform downloaded to your device in advance of the hearing, and become familiar with how to use it. This is to avoid any technical problems delaying the commencement of the hearing. Once all parties have joined the hearing, the Judge will then be invited to join.
  • Do make sure you have secure Internet connection.
  • Do have access to any documents which may be referred to during the hearing.
  • Do ensure that you know how to contact your solicitor if you need to communicate with them during the hearing. If telephone is used, ensure that you are careful to mute your connection to the hearing so that the other participants do not hear any sensitive information.
  • Do find somewhere quiet and private where nobody else is able to overhear the proceedings.
  • Do ensure that the Court can see your face. We recommend wearing smart attire – treat the video hearing as you would a normal court room. If you can, try and position yourself somewhere where you have a plain background behind you.

DON’T

  • Don’t leave your microphone on when you are not speaking. Mute your device unless you are speaking.
  • Don’t eat or drink anything other than water during the proceedings.
  • Don’t make any recordings of the hearing, whether audio or video, or take a screen shot of the hearing without the Court’s permission. This is contempt of court.

And finally… DON’T use a cat filter – or any filter – during the Court Hearing!

Our award winning Family team have a wealth of experience in representing clients in court. If you would like to discuss your matter with a member of the team, please freephone our team on 0800 8 60 62 65.

Victoria Jones

Victoria Jones – Trainee Solicitor

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