State Courts Practice Directions

Part V: Remote Hearings

34. Video and Telephone Conferencing

Introduction

(1) This Practice Direction applies to all proceedings in the State Courts, including criminal proceedings.

(2) The State Courts may conduct hearings by video conferencing or telephone conferencing using an approved remote communication technology. The list of approved remote communication technologies will be published on the State Courts website at http://www.statecourts.gov.sg and may be updated from time to time.

Guidelines and Procedures

(3) The State Courts may prescribe guidelines and procedures on the conduct of hearings by video conferencing or telephone conferencing. These guidelines and procedures will be published on the State Courts website at http://www.statecourts.gov.sg and may be updated from time to time.

(4) The guidelines and procedures prescribed pursuant to paragraph 3 may include (without limitation) the following matters:

(a) the types of hearings to be conducted by video conferencing or telephone conferencing; (b) the procedure for parties to submit a request to Court that a particular hearing be conducted by video conferencing or telephone conferencing; (c) the procedure for the Court to notify parties whether or not a particular hearing will be conducted by video conferencing or telephone conferencing; (d) technical instructions on connecting to and participating in a hearing by video conferencing or telephone conferencing; (e) contact details for the submission of any queries or requests for assistance in respect of video conferencing or telephone conferencing to the Court.

(5) Notwithstanding the guidelines and procedures prescribed pursuant to paragraph 3 above, the Court has full discretion in every case to decide:

(a) whether to conduct a hearing by video conferencing or telephone conferencing; and (b) whether to conduct a hearing with one or more parties attending by video conferencing or telephone conferencing and any other party attending physically in Court.

Dress and etiquette

(6) Where hearings are conducted by video conferencing, all court rules and practices on dress and etiquette will continue to apply. However, it will not be necessary to stand and/or bow to the Court at the start or end of the hearing or to stand when addressing the Court, when otherwise required to do so for physical attendance.

Records of hearing

(7) Where a hearing is conducted by means of video conferencing or telephone conferencing using an approved remote communication technology, all recordings made of the hearing which have been authorised by the Court using such approved remote communication technology will constitute the official record of hearing for the purposes of O 38A r 1 of the Rules of Court (Cap 322, R 5).

(8) Unauthorised audio or visual recording of hearings conducted by video conferencing or telephone conferencing is strictly prohibited. In appropriate cases, the Court may require an undertaking that no such recording will be made. Attention is drawn to section 5 of the Administration of Justice (Protection) Act 2016 (Act No. 19 of 2016) regarding contempt of court by unauthorised recordings.

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