Public and private hearings
Public and private hearings

The following Dispute Resolution practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Public and private hearings
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • The general rule of open justice
  • Which hearings must be held in private?
  • Applying for a matter to be heard in private
  • How will the court exercise its discretion to order a hearing to be heard in private?
  • Excluding members of the public from trial/hearings
  • Protecting confidential information
  • Closed hearings
  • Concurrent civil and criminal proceedings
  • More...

This Practice Note should be read in conjunction with Practice Notes:

  1. Collateral use of documents in civil proceedings—which deals with CPR 31.22(1)(a) permitting the subsequent use of documents read or referred to in public hearings

  2. Use of confidential information in civil proceedings—which deals with the protection of confidential information

  3. Anonymisation—protecting the identity of a party or a witness—which deals with anonymisation to protect the identity of a party or witness

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The guidance detailing normal practice set out in this Practice Note may be affected by measures concerning process and procedure in the civil courts that have been introduced as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In particular, note the following:

  1. attending hearings:

    1. remote hearings—physical hearings are being avoided and remote hearings arranged where possible in accordance with a remote hearing protocol published by the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary which applies in the County Court, High Court, and Court of Appeal (Civil Division), including the Business and Property Courts. The remote hearing protocol was published on 20 March 2020 and updated on 26 March 2020. With the increase in remote hearings, the protocol addresses how this will impact on the general rule that hearings are to be in public (CPR 39.2(1)) and that proceedings are to be tape recorded or digitally recorded (CPR 39.9). The protocol states that, as far as possible, remote hearings should still

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