News and Events

CVP Hearings

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In the main, Cloud Video Platform hearings have been a success. They avoid wasted hours travelling to far-flung tribunals, only to be told there is no judge available and the case is floating. For many or most cases, they are a workable and sensible alternative to in-person hearings. Nevertheless, problems occur with connectivity, some people struggle to access the technology, sharing new documents is not always straightforward, and there is sometimes the possibility that witnesses giving evidence may be receiving assistance, either off-camera or via a messaging app.

The Lord Chief Justice has announced that, in the civil and criminal courts, there is now to be a return to ‘in-person’ hearings to reflect the Prime Minister’s Roadmap out of lockdown. He states “The interests of justice are wider than the circumstances of the individual case and include the efficient despatch of business in the interest of dealing with cases in all jurisdictions expeditiously.”

He adds: “Remote and hybrid hearings will still play their part in managing footfall in courtrooms and public areas. With more people attending court everyone must continue to follow the guidance on social distancing, hand sanitising, the wearing of face coverings and any local arrangements. This will ensure that as restrictions are eased, the administration of justice continues to be delivered safely.”

This does not apply to employment tribunal hearings. For now, the position remains that CVP hearings should be the default position, albeit subject to the views of the individual Employment Judge. Nevertheless, the Employment Tribunals’ RoadMap (last updated June 2020) recognises a return to ‘in-person’ hearings will, at some point, be considered.

Read the Lord Chief Justice’s statement.