Although Ontario’s reopening plan is in full effect and much of the restrictions have been lifted, the legal industry continues to hold virtual examinations whenever possible as it saves time, costs, and resources. OTR has put together some of the best practices to conduct remote examinations with optimal results.
Collaboration is key
Early agreement between counsel on the format of discoveries, the technology platform, and the treatment of documents might avoid unnecessary delays. Ideally, narrowing down the issues at hand will allow for the examination to be focused and effective.
Prepare witnesses for attendance
Witnesses should be well prepared by their counsel for remote examinations by knowing when to join the sessions to give their evidence and have immediate access to all their documents. A good practice would be to inform witnesses to keep their mic and camera on at all times especially when it comes to their turn to discuss.
Familiarize yourself with the tech
The transition to virtual discoveries comes with a learning curve. Lawyers are best advised to be updated with the platforms that they are using which include downloading and installing the software, configuring the camera and microphone settings, and walking through the various menu options available on the platform.
Keep the court reporter informed
The reporter should be informed about how the examination will proceed, including the structure of the discoveries and order of witnesses as well as communicating certain preferences for the documents/transcripts.
Be visible enough to the camera with a light background preferably in a closed sound-proof setting. Remove clutter from your desk and keep only the necessary documents at your reach. Remember to keep your phone or any other digital devices away during this session. Make sure there is enough light to reduce shadow or glare for a clear picture and configure the audio to reduce static and feedback. Ensure the witnesses do the same.
Speak directly to the camera with proper earphones and a mic for effective communication. Avoid sudden gestures, shuffling papers, tapping on the keyboard, and other unnecessary noises. Wait for your turn to speak and avoid speaking over other participants.
To book a court reporter for a meeting or a mediation, or even to discuss a court reporting position with On The Record, call one of our locations today, conveniently located in Whitby and Barrie. We look forward to discussing your court reporting or mediation needs.