Below are various best practices and points of etiquette that will help ensure your participation in a remote hearing is as effective as possible. They are for guidance only, and they are not exhaustive. The directions of the presiding judicial official should always be followed.
- Find an appropriate space. We understand that you may not have complete privacy and silence in your current environment, which may be a shared living space, but please do your best to participate from a private, quiet space. If the proceedings involve any children, please ensure those children are out of earshot. For videoconferences, please try to find a space that also has good lighting and a neutral background.
- Use an external microphone, a headset or earbuds with a built-in microphone, where possible. This equipment supports good audio quality. It helps other participants hear you clearly and assists in the creation of an accurate court record.
- Speak slowly and clearly. Some participants’ Internet connections and/or speakers might not allow them to hear others clearly. Speaking slowly and clearly will help everyone follow what you are saying and will assist any interpreters.
- Objections, responses and comments: If you have an objection, response or comment and it cannot wait, then:
- if on video, raise your hand to show the presiding judicial official that you wish to speak;
- if on a telephone call, respectfully interrupt the conversation to let the presiding judicial official know you have something to say.
- Ensure that your phone, computer or device is plugged in or that the necessary charger is handy.
GUIDANCE SPECIFIC TO TELECONFERENCES
- Choosing a phone: Use a land line where possible. If using a cell phone, headphones with a built-in microphone and mute button may reduce echo and provide the clearest sound quality.
- If using a cell phone, put it on silent mode so that notifications sounds do not disrupt the hearing.
- Avoid using speakerphone, which decreases audio quality.
- Avoid using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
- If using a cell phone, mute notifications on it.
- Mute your phone when not speaking. This reduces background noise (e.g. from other persons in your household).
- Do not put the call on hold.
- Say your name whenever you start speaking.
GUIDANCE SPECIFIC TO VIDEOCONFERENCES
- Before the hearing, familiarize yourself with your microphone, camera and speakers.
- Before the hearing, test your technology from the place where you plan to participate in the hearing. This will indicate whether your Internet connection is strong enough in that location. A videoconference can use a lot of bandwidth.
- If you have one, consider using an external microphone. This may pick your voice up more clearly than the microphone built into your device.
- Dress in appropriate business attire.
- To the extent possible, reduce the number of other devices using your Internet connection during the hearing.
- Close any applications that you are not using during the hearing.
- Log into the hearing 15 minutes before the scheduled start time. This will give you an opportunity to address last-minute technical issues and ensure that you join the hearing as soon as it begins.
- Your screen name should be your given name and surname. All participants on the call, including the presiding judicial official, can see your screen name.
- While speaking, look into your camera lens. This gives the other participants direct eye contact with you. Do not look at the person whom you are speaking to.
- Mute your microphone when not speaking. This reduces echo and background noise.
- Mute notifications on your computer/device. These can interrupt the hearing.