Telephone Hearings

7670182720_26bf8cb333_mMy day began with emails and telephone calls chasing up various clients, counsel and opposing solicitors. Following this I began to tackle the pile of work I came in to find on my desk. Top of the pile was to arrange a 5 way telephone hearing. I had no idea where to start; luckily one of the secretaries at Stowe Family Law LLP was on hand to help and forwarded me the number to call to set up the telephone hearing.

Telephone hearings in civil hearings were introduced in 1999 as part of the Civil Justice Reforms following Lord Woolf’s Review of the civil justice system in England and Wales. The procedures for such hearings can be found under Practice Direction (PD) 23 of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR). PD 6.2 states that all suitable hearings will be conducted by telephone. Hearings that may be held by telephone include allocation hearings, listing hearings, case management hearings, interim applications with a time estimate of no more than one hour and any other application, with the consent of all the parties and the agreement of the court. Hearings that are inappropriate for telephone hearings include those where all of the parties are unrepresented or where there are four or more parties that wish to make representations at the hearing.

The service provider used to facilitate a telephone hearing has to be an approved service provider as indicated in PD 6.10 (1). I, therefore, telephone our approved services provider, log in to our account and set up the telephone hearing; I give the names of each person to be contacted and the respective telephone numbers. It is best practice to have the Judge last on the list, so that the service provider contacts the Judge once everyone else is on the line.

On the day the service provider will call each participant in turn and thus set up a conference style call. The call will be recorded and stored by the service provider. A request should then be made for the transcript.

Once set up I email the confirmation of the hearing over to the solicitor in charge of the case and begin to tackle the rest of the mounting work I have. As the day winds down one of my colleagues walks in to my office beaming from ear to ear and informs me that she has just become an aunty for the second time. Emmy Elizabeth was born this afternoon and apparently her brother William is very proud.

For more information on telephone hearings please visit: http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/telephone-hearings

Photo by zigazou76 via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

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