What to do when you are telecommuting and testifying by internet
Many court meetings are transitioning to telephone or video link. This guide is intended to provide useful tips and advice on preparing for and attending tele-communicated event.
Helpful information the Court wants before you testify.
Provide the Court with your e-mail address and telephone number. When the Court e-mails you a web link to join the video hearing, copy it down and put it with the documents you will have handy for your time in court.
What can I do to prepare for my video hearing?
- The Court will usually conduct the video hearing using an encrypted and security safe video platform. If you are not computer savvy, have someone who is advise you and practice the connection before your time on line with the court.
- You may have to download the software on the device you will use to join the hearing. Check on how to download the platform you will use for your device. Go onto You Tube or ask Google for direction if you don’t know.
- If you require technical support to join a meeting call the Court’s audio and video support line the day before at their recommended telephone number.
- Be sure to get a phone number for the court and a cell number for your attorney. If you get disconnected you want to be able to re-connect ASAP.
- Have all of your documents ready. Practice taking them out of the file, putting them on a desk or table top and practice until you are comfortable so you don’t have to go looking for something while the court is waiting for you. Check with your attorney before hand to know what documents may be needed and be sure to ask him/her if any documents are taboo about talking about. The court may have made a ruling that you don’t want to overlook as it may cause your testimony to work against you.
- Schedule an hour to an hour of half of time on the court date. Make sure you don’t have any barking dogs or children that need attention. Give yourself a rest room break, before you begin so as to minimize any interruptions during the time on line.
- Keep other distractions to a minimum. Turn off the television. Turn off the radio. After you start the video, unless you are using your phone, turn off your phone.
- Think ahead about where you will sit during the video hearing. You will need a quiet private space where you will not be disturbed during the hearing. Also, make sure that you sit somewhere where you cannot be overheard, especially if you live with children who are the subject of the proceedings.
- Have a glass of water and a bottle of water handy. Have a snack bar or piece of cut up fruit or candy bar handy.
- Make sure that your device is fully charged, and you are connected to the internet in order to avoid being cut off during the hearing.
- Make sure that your video background is clear. You should sit somewhere that doesn’t contain pictures, posters etc., on the wall. * Make sure that you dress appropriately for the hearing. This means comfortable but not soiled, or too casual clothing or dress. Although the hearing is being conducted by video it is still a court hearing and isn’t any less important or serious in nature than if the hearing were being conducted in person.
- Arrange with your attorney a time and a number where the two of you can talk by phone after the meeting has ended. DON’T leave this to chance or you or your attorney will be busy and not be able to reschedule for awhile and I am sure you will want feedback and be curious about how it went.
How do I join my video hearing?
Make sure you are ready to join the court at least 15 mins before it is due to start. This will help you feel ready for the start of the meeting.
To join the video hearing:
- Click on the link in your email from the court.
- Wait until you are invited to speak. Stay on mute with your audio until you are asked to speak.
What will happen during my video meeting?
Once all the parties have joined the meeting, a member of the Court staff (usually the Judge's Clerk) will introduce themselves and explain how the hearing will work and what you need to do. The Judge's Clerk will then invite the Judge to join the meeting.
- The Judge will usually invite the legal representatives of each party to speak, to avoid the parties speaking over one another.
- If you do not have legal representation at the meeting, then the Judge will talk to you directly and invite you to speak, again to avoid the parties speaking over one another.
- The issues discussed at the hearing will be the same as if the meeting were being held in person. * The meeting will also be recorded.
What if I lose connection during my video meeting?
Do not panic. Be sure to ask the person who helped you set up the meeting this question. Usually, but not always, turning the connection off and back on with allow you to re-join the meeting.
What happens after my video meeting?
- The Judge or Judge’s Clerk will confirm that the meeting has finished and tell you when you can leave the call.
- You may want to speak to your attorney after the meeting or they may want to talk to you. You should leave the meeting and connect by phone at the appointed time.