Coronavirus (COVID–19)—new Practice Direction 51Y (116th update)

Coronavirus (COVID–19)—new Practice Direction 51Y (116th update)

New Practice Direction 51Y—Video or audio hearings during Coronavirus pandemic comes into force on 25 March 2020.

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic a new ‘Practice Direction 51Y—Video or audio hearings during Coronavirus pandemic’ comes into force on 25 March 2020. It clarifies the manner in which the court may exercise its discretion to conduct hearings remotely in private.

Under this new Practice Direction 51Y:

  1. the court may exercise the power to hold a remote hearing in private where it is not possible for the hearing to be simultaneously broadcast in a court building
  2. however, the court may not conduct a remote hearing in private where arrangements can be made for a member of the media to access the remote hearing and, where the media can access the hearing remotely, then this will constitute a public hearing
  3. the court may direct that where it conducts a remote hearing in private, it must, where it is practicable to do so, order that the hearing is recorded
  4. where a remote hearing is either audio or video recorded, any person may apply to the court for permission to access the recording

The new Practice Direction 51Y may be accessed here:

Practice Direction 51Y—video or audio hearings during coronavirus pandemic

The Judiciary’s announcement maybe accessed here:

Practice Direction on Video or Audio Hearings in Civil Proceedings during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

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About the author:
Ruth specialises in general corporate and commercial dispute resolution with particular experience in shareholder disputes, fraud and warranty claims. Ruth trained and qualified at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP (now Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP) where she remained in practice for ten years. Her work has involved project managing large-scale cases to trial in the chancery and commercial courts. Ruth was actively involved in in-house training with a particular focus on all aspects of evidence gathering and production, including authoring a user-manual on E-disclosure. She is also a contributor to the New Law Journal.