Covid 19- Standard directions for remote hearings by Skype in the Business and Property Courts – Birmingham

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Introduction

  1. These directions apply where incorporated into the directions for holding any hearing by remote means, save to the extent inconsistent with any directions specifically made for that hearing.
  2. It is important that parties take all steps necessary to cooperate with each other to comply with these directions and otherwise as required to ensure that the hearing can proceed efficiently as scheduled.

Arrangements for the hearing

  1. The platform for the hearing will be Skype for Business.
  2. The court will make arrangements for the hearing by way of email invitation to a Skype meeting. In order that it can do so:
    1. Each party must, not later than three clear business days before the hearing, file at court a Remote Hearing Attendance Form.
    2. Parties are requested to keep the number of participants to the minimum necessary to conduct the hearing.
    3. In respect of each proposed participant, an email address must be provided to which the invitation may be sent.
    4. Such addresses must therefore be associated with an Outlook account.
    5. All participants must ensure, in advance, that that they have installed and tested all necessary software to participate in the hearing (such as Skype or Skype Meetings App).
  3. If any party has not received the invitation by 12 noon on the preceding day, they should contact the relevant judge’s clerk (or the court via the BPC email address in the case of hearings before a DJ) urgently.

Attendance and Bundles

  1. The parties must liaise and lodge the following JOINT documents, not later than three clear business days before the hearing:
    1. An Index to a joint electronic bundle of documents for the hearing, and
    2. An Index to a joint bundle of authorities.
  2. The Hearing Attendance Forms and Indices:
    1. Must be Word documents in the form of the specimens sent by the court with these directions, and
    2. May be lodged by email or (if the case is on CeFile) CeFile.
  3. In relation to the individual documents to be included in the bundles of documents and authorities:
    1. All such documents must be sent to the court by email (NOT CeFile) at the same time as the relevant Index.
    2. If required to comply with size limits, multiple emails may be used, but each email should attach only documents or authorities, not both.
    3. Documents may be attached in a zipped file.
    4. Each email must include in the subject line “[Case No]: [Documents] Bundle- hearing on [date] before [judge]”
    5. The individual documents may be retained in their native format (eg Word, pdf or Excel) and with any appropriate file name, BUT each file name must be prefaced with a number corresponding with the relevant Index, eg ” 4 Smith v Jones Defence and Counterclaim.doc”. This is to ensure they display in the same order as the index when saved by the court.
    6. Each document should be internally paginated if possible.
  4. Generally bundles should comply with the relevant court guidelines as to content and organisation into sections. In particular the bundle and index of documents should include any skeletons, case summary, chronology and dramatis personae.
  5. In order to manage the size of electronic bundles however:
    1. Only those documents essential to the conduct of the hearing in question should be included.
    2. Lengthy authorities should be edited to include only the relevant sections.

However, if despite liaison parties are unable to agree on the content of either bundle, all documents (or sections) sought by any party should be included, if necessary in an appropriately marked section, rather than filing separate bundles or indices.

Conduct of the hearing

  1. All participants other than the judge should join the meeting at least 5 minutes before the expected starting time of the hearing. Non speaking participants must mute their microphones and should turn off video (to reduce the recording file size).
  2. When the judge joins he/she will start recording the hearing. As with any hearing in court, no other party should record the hearing, as this would constitute contempt of court.
  3. The hearing will then be conducted as nearly as possible as if a normal court hearing, with all normal formalities and conventions, save that parties are not required to robe. Participants should as far as possible avoid interrupting or over-speaking, which is apt to cause confusion.
  4. Any documents relating to the hearing sent to the court by email should be sent either to the Birmingham BPC address (Birmingham@Justice.gov.uk) or to the address of the relevant judge’s clerk (if known). In either case the subject line must include the case number and name, and the relevant hearing date.

 

BPC Birmingham

Joint Authorities Index

Case No: 
Case Name: 
Hearing Date: 

 

[This should be an index to a joint bundle agreed by all parties in accordance with the court’s direction. If any party has not agreed the index or content of the bundle, an explanation should be provided by separate letter]

[Please ensure that individual documents are named in accordance with the format specified in the court’s direction, and in particular that their numbers correspond with the index. Late additions may be inserted with intermediate numbering, eg 8.1, 9.2.1 etc]

Doc NoBrief Description
  
  
  
  
  
  

BPC Birmingham

Joint Hearing Bundle Index

Case No: 
Case Name: 
Hearing Date: 

 

[This should be an index to a joint bundle agreed by all parties in accordance with the court’s direction. If any party has not agreed the index or content of the bundle, an explanation should be provided by separate letter]

[Please ensure that individual documents are named in accordance with the format specified in the court’s direction, and in particular that their numbers correspond with the index. Late additions may be inserted with intermediate numbering, eg 25.1, 27.2.1 etc]

Doc NoBrief DescriptionDate