The Vice President of the Court of Protection has issued guidance on how hearings are to be conducted during the COVID-19 outbreak.
For the foreseeable future:
1) Hearings with a time estimate of 2 hours or less will be conducted by telephone. The applicant is responsible for arranging the telephone hearing. Guidance on setting up the call is given in COPGN5.
2) Hearings with a time estimate of more than 2 hours will, in principle, proceed as attended hearings, unless and until further guidance or specific application in the case (which will be decided by the judge hearing the case).
You can read the Vice President's guidance here.
To arrange a telephone hearing, the applicant's solicitors should contact either:
- BT Conferencing Services, on 0800 0284194; or
- Legal Connect on 0800 953 0405
You need to give the call provider:
- The direct telephone number of all the parties; and
- The telephone number of the Court (the number for First Avenue House, London, is 0207 421 8718)
On the day of the hearing, shortly before the hearing start time, the call provider will call all the parties, and their representatives. Usually, the applicant will be called first. Finally, the call provider will telephone the court, and join the judge to the call.
The call will be recorded, from the beginning.
Parties might consider arranging separate telephone conferences, ahead of the hearing, to replicate the discussions which would usually be had at court.