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Remote Court Appearances Guide for Participants

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Participants must conduct themselves for remote hearings as if they were physically in the courtroom.

  • Where court is proceeding by video, counsel, litigants, and witnesses are expected to appear on video, barring technical impediments.
  • Recording, publishing, broadcasting, reproducing, photographing, or otherwise disseminating the video, audio, or any photograph of any remote hearing is prohibited (subject to limited exceptions which are to be addressed with the presiding jurist).
  • Participants should join the remote appearance early. If technical support is needed, please contact Zoom’s Help Centre. If technical difficulties are experienced which prevent a participant from hearing, seeing, or following the hearing, they should immediately notify the Court by speaking, raising their hand, or using Zoom’s “Raise Hand” button. If joining a Zoom hearing by phone, they may raise their hand by pressing *9. If a participant becomes disconnected from the hearing, they should immediately attempt to rejoin.
  • Participants should ensure their device is charged or connected to a power source. Video calls can deplete the battery quickly.
  • Participants must be in a private, quiet space.
  • Participants must dress appropriately. Counsel must wear business attire.
  • Participants’ screen name must be surname, given name, unless otherwise directed by the court.
  • Inappropriate profiles or background photos must not be used.
  • Participants must remain on mute until their matter is called, and notifications on their phone or computer must be turned off.
  • Only one person can speak at a time.
  • Those participating by telephone should not use speakerphone or put the call on hold (as it may produce disruptive sounds). A landline is better than a cell phone. Participants must say their name for the record before they speak.
  • Participants are not to eat or drink anything except water, nor to smoke or vape.
  • Participants with documents relevant to their case should have them ready. Witnesses should not refer to documents or any other material whilst testifying, unless granted leave by the Court.

The above guidelines are all subject to the discretion of the presiding jurist.

Information for Public Observers and the Media can be accessed here.

Information for Self-Represented Litigants in a Criminal Proceeding can be accessed here.

Information for Self-Represented Litigants in a Family Court Proceeding can be accessed here.

Information for Defendants in Provincial Offences cases can be accessed here.

For technical information about participating in a Zoom hearing, please see the ZOOM User Guide for Remote Hearings in the Ontario Court of Justice.

For technical information about participating in a JVN hearing, please see the JVN WebRTC Manual and JVN WebRTC Troubleshooting Tips.