Since COVID-19, Courts (including Family Courts) have conducted hearings both in person and electronically via video or telephone link. However, it is a practice that has continued long after pandemic lockdowns were lifted. Our Family Lawyers outline where electronic hearings stand in legal circles.

Are electronic hearings legally acceptable?

There is no difference in the level of formality between electronic hearings (aka virtual or online hearings) or in-person hearings. Therefore, all the usual rules of court procedures and etiquette still apply.  Whether your hearing is to occur in-person or electronically will be stated on your Court Orders or in any emails from the Court. Additionally, if any changes have been made to a Hearing, the Court will send you an email informing you.

Can you request an electronic hearing?

Your solicitor may request an electronic hearing by filing a ‘Request form’ with the Court. This Request form must be filed at least five business days prior to the Hearing unless it relates to a Final Hearing in which it must be filed 28 days prior. The request will be considered by the Court and if appropriate, will be granted.  When requesting to attend a Hearing electronically, you must provide appropriate reasons to why you are unable to attend in-person. These reasons can include that you are:   Firstly, unwell or injured.Secondly, caring for young children.Thirdly, committed to unavoidable appointments.Fourthly, living far from the nearest Court registry.Or finally, concerned for your safety at Court.

Types of electronic hearings 

If your Hearing is being conducted by Video link it will be via Microsoft Teams or Webex software. You will not be required to purchase or have a paid subscription to either of these software programs. Instead, the Court will send you a link in which for you to attend virtually. If your Hearing is being conducted by Telephone link, the same software is used.  If you would like to attend Court via electronic means please contact your solicitor as soon as possible or if you have any questions about attending via video or telephone link please contact a member of our team for a confidential discussion about your matter.

New South Lawyers’ communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication.

To find out more, chat with a member of New South Lawyers' Family Law Team today.