Virtual hearing service providers can’t compete when the preparation costs for their e-bundles are too high compared to the disputed value. Parties can agree on a PDF bundle if the papers aren’t too lengthy. Text-searchable documents, if feasible, should be converted into PDFs before they’re sent out to parties. A member of the legal team on one side of the case will share their computer screen with the other side’s legal team throughout the hearing to provide access to the PDF bundle.
Regardless of the platform or manner of sharing, the people involved should:
Make every effort to replicate the ambiance of the hearing chamber.
Individuals sitting in front of their screens in various settings or at home might quickly lose the sensation of “gravity” of hearing in virtual surroundings. This may be addressed by requiring witnesses to be examined in a neutral location, such as a legal firm’s office, conference facilities, or a local arbitral institution’s facilities. The Hybrid Hearings are essential there.
Think about how to guarantee that any evidence supplied by a witness is reliable. There are a number of ways in which cameras may be put in a room where a witness is testifying, such as 360-degree cameras, or two cameras (one in front and one behind). As an alternative to, or in addition to, having an invigilator present while a witness testifies, parties may consider appointing one. There may be social distance restrictions in place at the location where the witness is testifying.
- To guarantee that everyone is properly attired, consider instituting dress codes.
- Everyone should have access to the tribunal, including during the testimony of witnesses.
- When deciding what oath or affirmation to administer to witnesses, keep in mind the location where the witness will be testifying and the location of the arbitration hearing.
- Ensure that witnesses who face technical difficulties while testifying have access to help.
Protocol for e-hearing
At a case management meeting prior to the hearing, parties should address any rules and concerns in an e-hearing protocol (similar to the terms of reference). As a result, everyone involved has a clear understanding of the regulations that apply and may make appropriate preparations. The protocol should be established as early as practicable in the proceedings.
The legal team’s communication
A lawyer’s communication with his or her legal team during a hearing must be done with the utmost respect for secrecy. Similar considerations need to be made by solicitors, especially if urgent directions are necessary.
Consider the privacy of others
The parties should consider where data will be kept, altered and duplicated when dealing with virtual hearings or electronic bundles.” Security settings on digital platforms should be known to parties in order to minimize the danger of a data breach and safeguard the secrecy of the hearing and the documents at issue in a case.
Take into account the locations of the participants and any government-imposed control systems. It is important to make sure that all communications between members of the same party, as well as those in breakout rooms or messaging, are safe and confidential. It is essential that all participants at a hearing be made aware of and agree to the recording of the audio and video. You should be aware that a hearing is recorded by real-time transcribers so that they may provide their transcription and resolve any discrepancies in the transcript. Parties should also make sure that breakout room sessions will not be recorded in any way.