As we move away from pandemic restrictions and lockdowns, we’ve begun to slowly live with and adjust to Covid-19 as part of our daily lives. This has meant that the introduction of Webex (a video conferencing solution) in the Magistrates Court has continued, and will continue for the foreseeable future.
By learning what the correct etiquette is prior to your WebEx court hearing, you can be better prepared for your virtual hearing.
How to Prepare for a WebEx Court Hearing
We advise doing the following if you want to be thoroughly prepared for your WebEx hearing:
- Use an electronic device, and ensure your device includes a camera function (this can be a computer, laptop, mobile or tablet)
- Decide where you will appear from – if you can’t appear with your lawyer, make sure you are in an appropriate area of your home (an office, a bedroom or a living area)
- Test your internet connection – you want to ensure that you have a strong connection (if you don’t, it may be a good idea to hotspot from your mobile device)
- Set your device up so the Magistrate can clearly see your face – you want your head, neck and shoulders to be visible
- Ensure your device is charged thoroughly and have a charger close by
- Have any documentation you may need ready (you will have to have this available electronically, so organising this prior to your hearing is paramount)
- Give the court your contact details – if you lose connection, the court will likely contact you directly
We also suggest purchasing a pair of headphones or a headset to use during the hearing. Background noise will not only make it hard for the Magistrate to hear you, but it may result in you missing out on something important that is said.
How to Appear for a WebEx Court Hearing
While a WebEx hearing doesn’t mean you have to physically go to court, you still need to dress appropriately.
Not only does this show the Judge that you are taking the hearing seriously, but it will likely mean you are in the right mindset for a court appearance. We strongly suggest you dress somewhat formally – a button-down shirt (that is done up modestly) and pants are ideal.
Keep in mind that while a virtual court appearance should be treated just as seriously as a physical court appearance, there are some slight differences. In most instances during an online hearing, you will not be required to stand or bow when the Magistrate comes to the bench. However, we advise speaking to your lawyer about this prior to your court hearing.
What shouldn’t you do in a WebEx Hearing?
There are a few things you should avoid doing in a WebEx court hearing:
- Don’t wear anything that would be perceived as ‘casual’ (we would highly recommend avoiding pyjamas and tracksuits)
- Using a filter – we all know the story of the infamous ‘Lawyer Cat‘. While it is comical, you don’t want to be perceived as making light of a very serious situation
- If possible, avoid having children and/or pets in the room
- Speaking out of turn, as this could result in further consequences – speak to your lawyer about when it is appropriate to speak in a hearing.
WebEx Court Hearings – How to Appear & Prepare
Whether you are appearing as a WebEx user or in court physically, court is extremely stressful. By planning accordingly, you can avoid unnecessary stress. While this advice is based on our own personal experience throughout the pandemic, we strongly suggest you speak to an experienced lawyer when it comes to preparing for your WebEx hearing.
Slades & Parsons are available to take your call 24 hours a day.
We are highly experienced in all aspects of criminal law. For further assistance please do not hesitate to contact our office.