Have your say on use of remote hearings during the pandemic

HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) is seeking your views on the use of remote hearings during the pandemic, to help understand how best to use and administer these in the longer term.

The survey asks about both your practical experiences and perceptions of remote hearings. It should take 10 to 15 minutes to complete.

The closing date is 1 June 2021.

Take the survey

About the study

HMCTS is currently evaluating remote hearings to understand more about the practices carried out during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and make recommendations for using remote hearings in the longer term.

The study includes stakeholder surveys and interviews.

Read more about the study

Your views

The views of legal representatives are critical to understanding how remote hearings are working. The study includes hearings where:

  • all parties joined remotely (online or by phone)
  • only some of the parties joined remotely (hybrid hearings)

If you’ve taken part in a remote court or tribunal hearing since the start of the pandemic, HMCTS would welcome your views.

Our position on remote hearings

COVID-19 has necessitated a radical and fast transition to the widespread use of remote hearings, to allow hearings to take place when it is not possible or practicable for all participants to attend in court or tribunal buildings.

To date, feedback from our members suggests that many procedural hearings (involving judges and advocates only) can be dealt with perfectly well remotely, and this should remain a permanent feature of the justice system.

Hearings involving vulnerable parties or witnesses, live evidence, or measures of significant controversy, however, are likely to be best served by an in-person hearing.

From the outset of the HMCTS court modernisation programme and throughout the pandemic – in order to analyse fully the impact of remote hearings on access to justice and on justice outcomes – we’ve flagged the importance of:

  • rigorous and comprehensive data collection
  • consultation with both the legal profession and court users

Ensuring robust data collection will mean COVID experiences (such as the increased use of remote hearings and their impact on access to justice and justice outcomes) are properly evaluated, lessons learned and applied to future reform.

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