In March 2020, The Advocates’ Society, the Ontario Bar Association, the Federation of Ontario Law Associations, and the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association established an E-Hearings Task Force (the “Task Force”) to work towards the expansion of virtual access to the courts during the COVID-19 crisis.
Co-chairing the Task Force is Marie-Andrée Vermette, WeirFoulds partner and chair of the Commercial Litigation Practice Group.
The E-Hearings Task Force has developed Best Practices for Remote Hearings to provide guidance for lawyers and parties about the preparation and conduct of a remote hearing.
The Best Practices cover civility and cooperation with opposing counsel and parties, pre-hearing preparation, issues to discuss with the judge in advance, how to prepare clients and witnesses, document management, and court etiquette. The Best Practices also include tips for how to present on-screen, hardware and software requirements and recommendations, and further resources to consult. Practical checklists are also included for counsel to ensure they have everything in order before undertaking a remote hearing.
“The COVID-19 crisis has forced us to adapt quickly, says Marie-Andrée Vermette. “We hope that this resource will be helpful to litigators and parties during this period of change.”
The Task Force will review these Best Practices periodically to take into account developments related to remote hearings, including evolving knowledge, experience and best practices stemming from the increased use of remote hearings during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
For more information and to access the full list of resources, click here.