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Accessible legal tips, know-how and news for anyone with a complaint or legal issue from Stephen Gold, author of The Return of Breaking Law, the book

Wednesday 25 March 2020

COVID-19: New Civil Practice Direction For Remote Hearings: England & Wales

Here is the practice direction under the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 made on 24 March 2020 and covering video and audio civil court hearings during the pandemic.

116th UPDATE – PRACTICE DIRECTION AMENDMENTS The new Practice Direction 51Y supplementing the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 is made by the Master of the Rolls under the powers delegated to him by the Lord Chief Justice under Schedule 2, Part 1, paragraph 2(2) of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, and is approved by the Lord Chancellor. The new Practice Direction comes into force on the day after the day on which it is approved. The Right Honourable Sir Terence Etherton Master of the Rolls and Head of Civil Justice The Right Honourable Robert Buckland QC MP Lord Chancellor Date: 24th March 2020 

PRACTICE DIRECTION 51Y – VIDEO OR AUDIO HEARINGS DURING CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC 1) After Practice Direction 51X insert Practice Direction 51Y as set out in the Schedule to this Update. 

This Practice Direction supplements Part 51 1. This practice direction, made under rule 51.2 of the Civil Procedure Rules (“CPR”), makes provision in relation to audio or video hearings. It ceases to have effect on the date on which the Coronavirus Act 2020 ceases to have effect in accordance with section 75 of that Act. 2. During the period in which this Direction is in force, where the court directs that proceedings are to be conducted wholly as video or audio proceedings and it is not practicable for the hearing to be broadcast in a court building, the court may direct that the hearing must take place in private where it is necessary to do so to secure the proper administration of justice. 3. Where a media representative is able to access proceedings remotely while they are taking place, they will be public proceedings. In such circumstances it will not be necessary to make an order under paragraph 2 and such an order may not be made. 4. Any hearing held in private under paragraph 2 must be recorded, where that is practicable, in a manner directed by the court. Where authorised under s.32 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 or s.85A of the Courts Act 2003 (as inserted by the Coronavirus Act 2020), the court may direct the hearing to be video recorded, otherwise the hearing must be audio recorded. On the application of any person, any recording so made is to be accessed in a court building, with the consent of the court.