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Trial by Skype

Sitting as a judge of the Court of Protection, Mr Justice Mostyn recently heard a difficult and sensitive welfare case, which was made more challenging by the movement restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr Justice Mostyn, with the agreement of all parties, decided that the case should take place using Skype for Business.

Mr Justyn Mostyn, solicitors, counsel and witnesses were all able to take part in the hearing via Skype and the applicant's solicitor arranged for all parties to have access to electronic bundles.

Recounting the experience, Mr Justice Mostyn said:

"The hearing was conducted almost like any other. Each witness was asked to swear/affirm their evidence. I ensured the witness could be clearly seen on everyone's devices. Each counsel could introduce themselves, so the witness knew who was asking the questions, and expert witnesses were dealt with in the same way. Using Skype allowed parties to share video evidence, and documents could be shared on screen and discussed. The hearing was recorded and shared with all parties."

A solicitor who took part in the hearing commented:

"The judicial leadership in the areas of family and civil justice has embraced the need for virtual technology to ensure justice continues. It goes without saying this is hugely necessary in a democratic society."

Mr Justice Mostyn also ensured that the relevant members of the media were invited to the hearing and sent the reporting restriction order, allowing them to follow the hearing and report on it – ensuring open justice and transparency can continue.

For Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice and guidance on the judicial website, click here.