We have now conducted our first remote hearing, using Skype for Business. The Judge and the other party both joined remotely. Although there was a short delay because the Judge had been provided with the wrong link, all otherwise ran smoothly, with excellent sound and video quality. We now think that a long term effect of the current crisis will be to make remote hearings much more popular.
Broadly speaking, the courts are adopting video conferencing through services such as Skype. For example, in the Commercial Court, on 27 March, Mr Justice Teare agreed a proposal from the litigants involved to conduct a trial by Zoom video conferencing and to stream it on YouTube to ensure that the principle of public access to court hearings was maintained. Although this development was facilitated by specific provisions in the Coronavirus Act 2020, its consequences are likely to have a lasting effect on the way that litigation is conducted which will long outlast the current pandemic.