We’ve mentioned this previously, but it looks like remote hearings are here to stay!
Due to COVID-19, hearings for the courts including tribunals, have changed operations in order for the hearings to be conducted remotely by either a video platform or by telephone.
At Lawgistics, we have experienced issues with remote hearings such as technology problems, extra preparation being required, and hearings not taking place at all with no explanation! It could also be argued that it has been a disadvantage to some cases and it’s more difficult to cross-examine the other party plus you no longer get “your day in court”. However, the advantages of remote hearings are less travel which minimises the disruption to the workday and less expense incurred.
Currently, employment tribunals are facing a backlog of claims which began before the pandemic. Based on the government’s figures, from October through to December 2020, claims had increased by 25% compared to the same quarter of the previous year. The cause of the increase is most likely from the rise in unemployment and changes to working conditions during the pandemic. Furthermore, the average time taken for a case to conclude has risen to 48 weeks, which is an increase of 12 weeks as compared to 2019.
On 31st March 2021, a new roadmap was set out for tribunals which details the default arrangements for the listing of new cases, with the majority of hearings continuing to be conducted remotely. Until March 2022, all preliminary hearings for new cases will default to telephone or video. However, final hearings will vary by region.
We assume remote hearings will also remain part of county court proceedings.