Hybrid Hearings

As a consequence of government-imposed travel restrictions and social segregation measures brought on by the present pandemic, parties, attorneys, and arbitrators have had to adapt to the new reality of conducting proceedings online. For a successful virtual hearing, be sure to read the information on this page on the benefits and drawbacks of conducting them. Virtual hearings have both benefits and problems.

Advantages

  • If you want to save money and the environment, this is the best option.
  • Travel and hotel costs are completely avoided (or at the very least reduced).
  • It is designed to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus by ensuring hearings are handled in compliance with social distancing rules.

When conducting a successful virtual hearing, you should be mindful of the following:

Make sure you’re on the correct network platform before continuing

Several technologies, including Zoom, BlueJeans, Microsoft Teams, Opus, and Immediate, may be used to conduct virtual hearings. Additionally, the Tribunal and all other parties participating in the case have their own break-out rooms, along with a combined “hearing chamber” for all parties involved in the case. The claimant is usually expected to assume this position during a hearing, however it may be more advantageous for an IT company to assume this role rather than relying on the claimant’s skill and knowledge. 

Hybrid Hearings

A few of the issues include who will host or co-host the event and who will be in charge of document presentation in the absence of a service provider contract. It’s important to consider who pays for the costs associated with delivery delays caused by technology problems. There should be a provision in arbitration rules that states who is responsible for the costs incurred due to technological failures, in order to avoid future conflicts about who is responsible for the costs. Service agreements between service providers and their clients address or omit technology-related disruptions and breakdowns. For Hybrid Hearings this works fine.

A network connection that can handle large amounts of data quickly

There should be no unreasonably long delays by having everyone double-check their cameras, microphones, internet service providers and network capacity as well as their Wi-Fi dependability and the presence of a backup 4/5G network before the hearing. A dry run session should be held prior to the official commencement of the procedures for all participants in the proceedings, including arbitrators, attorneys, and other party representatives. Watch as a virtual hearing services provider shows off the most important features of the virtual platform that will be used in this session to attendees. If preferred by the parties, separate meetings with the service provider might be arranged.

The program can take care of everything if you use a digital package

Custom e-bundles may be created by organizations such as Opus and Case Lines and then shared with other users on a virtual platform. Lloyd Michaux’s e-bundle services Opus and Case are good instances of how this might be done. Internal cross-references may be made using hyperlinks in the e-bundle. It is common practice for service providers to be able to convert the PDFs provided by the parties into searchable PDFs (usually for a fee). It is possible to connect transcript references to e-bundle documents with certain service providers, allowing for more efficient searches. Some sessions may not need the use of an electronic bundle.

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