The virtual hearings checklist

We’ve prepared this checklist to provide you with a quick reference guide for the various stages of planning and conducting a virtual hearing.

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Virtual hearing checklist

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A guide to virtual hearings

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A guide to virtual hearings

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Book a demo of the Opus 2 Virtual workspace

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Book a demo of the Opus 2 Virtual workspace

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Tech pack installation support

Once active participants receive their tech pack, our technical team will be on hand to assist with the installation of the equipment, or to provide training and technical support.

You will have access to technical support via email, over the phone or via remote desktop access.

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Venue partners

For virtual arbitration proceedings, we collaborate with a number of leading arbitration venues around the world to augment their own video conferencing solutions. Together our experienced teams will help you prepare for your virtual hearing with confidence and ensure the smooth-running of proceedings.

The International Arbitration Centre

The IDRC

Maxwell Chambers

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Receive a downloadable version of this virtual hearings timeline

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Mr Justice Andrew Baker

Bio goes here

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Help and support

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Natalie Osafo, Stewarts

Natalie is a senior associate in the Commercial Litigation team at Stewarts. She is also a solicitor advocate (Higher Courts Civil Proceedings).

Natalie has a broad practice spanning complex high value commercial litigation, arbitration and investigations, which often involve multiple jurisdictions. She has experience of acting for major corporates and financial institutions from a wide range of sectors.

Natalie was President of the Junior London Solicitors Litigation Association (2018 – 2020), which represents over 1,200 junior civil and commercial litigators in London. Natalie is an elected Committee Member of the London Solicitors Litigation Association and is a solicitor representative member of the Rolls Building Disclosure Working Group which proposed the new rules on disclosure for the pilot in the Business and Property Courts in England and Wales.

Natalie has written articles for legal press, given talks and appeared on panels on a variety of subjects including the Business and Property Courts disclosure pilot, legal technology, and best practice for handling disputes at an early stage.

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Chris Bushell, HSF and LSLA

Chris is a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills and is the current President of the London Solicitors Litigation Association (the LSLA), which has over 3000 members and helps to shape civil justice reform and promote best practice in litigation. He is also currently a member of the working group led by Baker J which is looking into possible reforms for trial witness statements in the Business and Property Courts.

Chris' experience spans various sectors and geographies, but he has a particular focus on disputes work involving banks and financial buyers. His experience includes advising on complex contractual disputes, class actions, shareholder and joint venture disputes, partnership and LLP disputes, economic torts, fraud and conspiracy, asset tracing, professional negligence, insolvency disputes, employment-related disputes and privacy and defamation issues.

Chris was described as having a ‘formidable reputation’ in Legal 500 UK 2020. He has also previously featured in The Legal Business Disputes Yearbook and among Legal Week’s list of Litigation Rising Stars.

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The Hon. Mr Justice Robin Knowles

Sir Robin sits in the Commercial Court, the Administrative Court, and the Court of Appeal Criminal Division. He is the Judge responsible for interim applications in the Queen’s Bench Division. Before appointment to the High Court, he sat as a Recorder in the Crown Court for 15 years, and as a Deputy High Court Judge in both the Commercial Court and the Chancery Division. He is a qualified mediator and has sat as an arbitrator. He was elected a Bencher of Middle Temple in 2004 and was Chairman of the Commercial Bar Association (2005-7).

Sir Robin was involved in rewriting the Commercial Court Guide as part of the Woolf Reforms. He was a member of the Aikens working party on “supercases”. With Sir William Blair, he worked successfully to secure the new Queen’s Counsel system. With others, he led work to bring about the Rolls Building – the world’s largest dedicated business dispute resolution centre. He is a member of the Financial Markets Law Committee, and of the Law and Ethics in Finance Project led by Sir William Blair. He is Chairman of the International Committee of the Judicial College of England & Wales.

A member of the Civil Justice Council, Sir Robin chairs its continuing work on access to justice for those without means. Within the HMCTS Reform Programme he chairs the Litigants in Person Engagement Group (LIPEG). He has a career-long involvement in the encouragement and coordination of legal pro bono work, nationally and internationally, and is on the board of a number of charities in the field, including the Bar Pro Bono Unit and the National Pro Bono Centre. He was awarded the CBE in 2007 for service to pro bono legal services.

Outside the law, Sir Robin has been closely involved with children’s hospices and children’s palliative care, and is a former Chairman of the UK umbrella body in this field.

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Ed Crosse, Simmons & Simmons and LSLA

Ed Ed Crosse is a partner at Simmons & Simmons LLP with over 20 years’ experience of handling complex financial and civil fraud related disputes.

Ed was President of the London Solicitors Litigation Association 2016–2018, an association which represents the interest of over 2,900 litigation solicitors in London. He is an elected member of the Law Society Council, representing the City of London. He has played a leading role for the profession on significant court reform initiatives by participating as the solicitor representative on judge–led working groups, including the Rolls Building Disclosure Working Group and was involved in the drafting of the new rules on disclosure for the pilot in the Business and Property Courts in England and Wales.

Crosse is a Partner in the Financial Markets Litigation team at Simmons & Simmons LLP. Ed has over 20 years experience of handling complex financial and civil fraud related disputes. Ed joined Simmons in 2012. Prior to that he worked at Clifford Chance for 10 years and one other leading City firm.

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The Honourable Mrs Justice Cockerill

Mrs Justice Cockerill was called to the Bar by Lincoln’s Inn in 1990 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2011. She practiced at the Commercial Bar from 1991 to 2017, gaining wide experience in international commercial law in a variety of courts and arbitration tribunals. Her specialisms at the Bar included the full range of disputes which arise from shipping and international trading transactions, ship and yacht building cases, insurance and reinsurance claims, conflicts of law and compelled evidence in civil proceedings. She is the author of “Compelled Evidence in Civil Proceedings” (2012 OUP).

Mrs Justice Cockerill was appointed as a Deputy High Court Judge in 2015 (Administrative and Commercial Courts) and as a High Court Judge in November 2017. She is assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division and sits in the Commercial Court, Technology and Construction Court and Administrative Court as well as the QB General list.

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Professor Dr Jackie van Haersolte-van Hof

On 1 July 2014, Jackie van Haersolte-van Hof became Director General of the LCIA. Previously, she practised as a counsel and arbitrator in The Hague, at her GAR 100 boutique HaersolteHof. She set up HaersolteHof in 2008 after three years as counsel in the international arbitration group at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Amsterdam.

From 2000 – 2004 she was with De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek in The Hague, and before that with Loeff Claeys Verbeke in Rotterdam, which she joined on her qualification in 1992.

She continues to sit as arbitrator and has handled cases under the ICSID, ICC, LCIA and UNCITRAL Rules, as well as those of the Netherlands Arbitration Institute (NAI), and UNUM, the Institute of Transport, Arbitration & Mediation, and at the Royal Dutch Grain and Feed Trade Association, based in the Netherlands. She is on the ICSID roster of arbitrators and was and is a member of several ICSID Annulment Committees.

She was also involved in setting up the arbitral process for the Claims Resolution Tribunal in Zurich, which analysed claims from Holocaust survivors over dormant accounts in Swiss banks.

She is a professor of arbitration law at Leiden University and a member of GAR’s editorial board. Her 1992 PhD thesis on the application of the UNCITRAL Rules by Iran-US Claims Tribunal was one of the first books to be published on the subject.

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Richard Little

Richard is a partner and Solicitor Advocate in the London CDR team. He advises on complex high value multi-jurisdiction disputes in sectors including aviation and defence, energy, engineering and consumer. Clients include: the leading Global Diversified Industrials, other large multi-national companies and governments.

Richard's work includes: designing corporate dispute resolution systems, pre-action proceedings, injunctions, regulatory (including competition law) claims, mediation, arbitration and the other forms of dispute resolution, including a number of virtual hearings.

Key recent experience: acting for the Malaysian Ministry of Finance in multi-billion dollar claims arising out of the 1MDB scandal; acting for IOEC in recovering $87m following a fraud committed by former management under the cover of international sanctions; and acting for one of the pre-eminent Asian based global logistics providers in parallel DIFC-LCIA arbitration and commercial court proceedings relating in claims arising from a multi jurisdiction logistics contract.

Recognised by Chambers and Partners where he is described as "tenacious, and he gives opponents the tactical runaround. He's a past master at interlocutory skirmishing and he leaves no stone unturned for the client", "Impervious to pressure", "a very commercial lawyer who's switched-on to how to achieve what the client wants", "the kind of person you would want on your side in a tight corner" and "his helpfulness, professionalism and sound advice are stunning".

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Leigh-Ann Mulcahy QC, Fountain Court Chambers

Leigh-Ann Mulcahy QC of Fountain Court Chambers (London & Singapore) was called to the Bar of England & Wales in 1993, the Bar of the Republic of Ireland in 1998, and was appointed a QC in 2009.

Leigh-Ann is acting for the Financial Conduct Authority in The Financial Conduct Authority v Arch Insurance (UK) Ltd & ors which is the first case to proceed under the Financial Markets Test Case Scheme. The case seeks to achieve legal certainty as to whether non-damage business interruption insurance covers/extensions respond to COVID-19 losses.

She is recognised by the legal directories as a Leading Silk in the fields of Insurance & Reinsurance, Professional Negligence, Product Liability and (in Asia) for Commercial Disputes. She was nominated by Chambers & Partners for Insurance Silk of the Year in 2016.

She has advised and acted for the UK Government for over 25 years and held the appointment of First Counsel to the Welsh Government between 2013 and 2016.

In addition to her advocacy and advisory practice, Leigh-Ann sits as a Deputy High Court Judge, a Senior Decision-Maker for the Guernsey Financial Services Commission and as a commercial arbitrator. She is a Fellow of the British Royal Statistical Society and a CEDR-accredited mediator. She has also been an international advanced advocacy trainer for over 18 years.

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Professor Rachael Mulheron, Queen Mary University of London

Rachael Mulheron is Professor of Tort Law and Civil Justice at the Law Department, Queen Mary University of London, where she has taught since 2004. Her principal fields of academic research and publication concern Torts, Medical Negligence, Class Actions jurisprudence, and Civil Justice. From 2009–18, Rachael was a member of the Civil Justice Council of England and Wales, and since then, has served as research consultant to that body. Rachael has been involved in collective redress reform for many years, assisting Government and rules-drafting committees. Prior to her academic career, Rachael practised as a litigation solicitor in Brisbane, Australia.

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Mr Justice Andrew Baker

Sir Andrew Baker was called to the Bar by Lincoln’s Inn in 1988, after a State school education in Scotland and higher education at Merton College, Oxford (reading Mathematics), the City University, London (reading Law) and the Inns of Court School of Law (for Bar Finals). He practised at the Commercial Bar from 1989 to 2016, with particular specialisms in dry shipping, international sale of goods, insurance and reinsurance, conflict of laws, arbitration and international banking/derivatives. He was appointed a QC in 2006, acted regularly as arbitrator as well as counsel, was made a Recorder of the Crown Court in 2012 and was authorised to sit as a Deputy High Court judge in May 2016, before his appointment as a High Court judge on 1 November 2016.

He is a co-author of the 6th and 7th Editions of “Time Charters” in the Lloyd’s Shipping Law Library, and between June 2009 and June 2016 was one of the Series Editors for that Library. STRA

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Sonia Tolaney QC

Sonia Tolaney QC is a member of the Chambers of Lord Grabiner QC, One Essex Court, and is currently the elected Chair of the Commercial Bar Association.

Sonia was called to the Bar by Middle Temple in 1995 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2011. She has acted in a large number of the landmark commercial and financial disputes of the last two decades and is well known for her “incredibly compelling advocacy”, “lethal cross examination” and “great tactical sense and litigation ability”. In recent years, she was named Commercial Litigation Silk of the Year (by both the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners) and Banking Litigation Silk of the Year (Chambers & Partners).

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In 2013 Sonia was made a Bencher of Middle Temple. She was one of the founders of the Temple Women’s Forum, which aims to inspire and promote opportunities for women at the Bar. In 2016, Sonia was appointed a Deputy High Court Judge, sitting in the Commercial Court.

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Lord Justice Flaux

Sir Julian Flaux was called to the Bar in 1978 and practised at the Commercial Bar from 1979 to 2007 specialising in disputes involving insurance and reinsurance, shipping, international trade and professional negligence. He was appointed a QC in 1994, an Assistant Recorder of the Crown Court in 1997, a Recorder in 2000 and Deputy High Court Judge in 2002.

He was appointed a High Court Judge in May 2007. He was Presiding Judge of the Midland Circuit from 2010 to 2013. He was Judge in Charge of the Commercial Court from July 2014 to December 2015 and President of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission from January to December 2016.

He was appointed a Lord Justice of Appeal in December 2016. He was appointed Lead Judge for International Relations in November 2019.

In February 2020, he was appointed as the Supervising Lord Justice of the Commercial Court for a four year term.

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Richard Blann

Richard Blann is Head of Group Litigation and Conduct Investigations at Lloyds Banking Group where he advises senior executives on strategy and conduct of major litigation matters. Since joining Lloyds in 2010 he has been a frequent court user, taking over 20 cases to trial in the courts of the UK, US and Australia.

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Crown Court

Opus 2 are the exclusive transcription provider for Crown Court hearings in the North East region. The North East region consists of the following courts:

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Charlotte Tan

Charlotte Tan is a member of Brick Court Chambers. She was called to the Bar in 2008 and has a diverse commercial practice, with a particular focus on civil fraud, international arbitration, international trade and finance and private international law.

In 2014, Charlotte was selected in Legal Week’s “Stars at the Bar” as one of ten junior barristers "recognised for their exceptional abilities”. She has been ranked in the directories for several years as a leading junior in Commercial Dispute Resolution and Shipping/Commodities where she has been described as “incredibly hardworking and…clearly exceptionally clever”, “outstanding” and “a highly regarded junior who is trusted by top silks to handle big-ticket matters. She has experience of acting in huge fraud, insurance and shipping cases, and is viewed as someone who punches well above her level of call”.

She is currently a member of the Commercial Bar Association Executive Committee.

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Explanatory Notes

  • Whole Hearing. This is a transcript of the day's hearing from start to finish on a specific day. Where the full proceedings last for more than a day and you want the full proceedings, your transcript request must list each day of the proceedings.
  • Prosecution Opening of the Facts. This is the Prosecution's summary of the facts of the case following a guilty plea.
  • Counsel's Opening/Closing Submissions. This is the barrister(s)' opening or closing speech(es). You are required to specify the relevant barrister(s)’ name(s) and whether you would like the opening or closing speech(es).
  • Evidence. You must provide the name of the witness(es) and, if relevant, state whether you want all the evidence or a particular part of the evidence.
  • Mitigation. This is a transcript of the defence barrister's speech to the judge putting forward factors on behalf of the defendant about the type of sentence which should be imposed.
  • Judge's Summing Up. This is the judge's direction on law and summary of the evidence heard during trial to assist the jury in making their decision.
  • Sentencing Remarks. This is the judge's decision on sentencing and reasons for imposing the sentence.
  • Sentencing Hearing. This is the hearing in which the defendant is sentenced.
  • Counsel's Opening/Closing Remarks. This is the barrister(s)' opening or closing speech(es). Please specify relevant barrister(s)’ name(s) and whether you would like the opening or closing speech(es).
  • Legal Argument(s) and Ruling. This is the legal submissions (argument) made to a Judge/Master by a legal representative or party on a specific issue during the proceedings and a transcript of the decision (ruling) given by the Judge/master. You are required to indicate if you are seeking just the argument or just the ruling.
  • Confiscation Ruling. This is a transcript of the Ruling given by the Judge in a Confiscation hearing.
  • Judgment. This is the judge’s decision after the parties have presented their case.
  • Proceedings After Judgment. This relates to any proceedings after the judgment has been given.
  • Other. An example is a transcript of the verdict, which must be specifically requested (unless you have requested the whole hearing on the day on which the verdict was given). For any other transcript request, you must specify the nature of the proceedings your request relates to. You should also include the start and finish times of the proceedings.
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1. Preparation checklist

Preparation is key to ensuring a virtual hearing can be conducted as smoothly as possible. Following these key recommendations can help minimise any technology or equipment challenges on the day:

Opus 2 Services Checklist

1. Fully hyperlinked Electronic Bundle.

2. Remote Electronic Presentation of Evidence (EPE).

3. Transcription - Realtime or Daily.

4. Opus 2 integrated audio/video conferencing provision for all participants.

5. Opus 2 Virtual Hearing Manager and access to instant messaging communication platform for coordination, operation and support.

Venue Checklist

1. Identify and designate a primary venue which will serve as the key hub to manage the virtual hearing. If all participants are remote, we recommend you liaise closely with us to manage the virtual proceedings.

2. Make a list of all participants and classify as active (speaking) participants vs. passive (listen only) participants, and their locations.

3. If possible, consolidate as many locations as possible, especially bringing active participants together to create hearing hub locations.

4. Test internet and telephone connectivity available at each location.

5. Identify and agree between all parties the capabilities that you want as part of the virtual hearing.

6. Opus 2 integrates seamlessly with most leading audio/video conferencing solutions available in the market, including Cisco Webex, BlueJeans, Zoom, Skype for Business and many more. We also work alongside audio/video conferencing provisions offered by courts and other venues including the IDRC, IAC and Maxwell Chambers. If you intend to use a third-party audio/video conferencing provision, discuss this with Opus 2.

7. Identify what compatible equipment and technology will be required by each participant and ensure these are available or can be sourced. Refer to the equipment checklist below.

8. Identify any training needs for each participant and work with Opus 2 and, where applicable, the third- party audio/video conferencing provider to ensure these are addressed.

9. Put a fault recovery plan in place for the hearing and have clear escalation paths for issues that may present, such as the connection dropping out. Opus 2’s Virtual Hearing Manager can assist with this and facilitate throughout the hearing.

2. Setup checklist for Hubs

Hubs are locations where you can bring your active and/or passive participants together, to provide more managed environments. Minimising the number of locations with remote participants reduces the risk of disruptions during the virtual hearing. The equipment requirements for Hubs are:

Room

1. VOIP connectivity; with audio being exchanged via in-room speakers and microphone conferencing system.

2. High-speed internet connection.

3. Acoustically set-up in-room speakers.

4. Tracking camera to capture all speakers in the hearing room.

5. Large-format display screen to show the video stream.

6. Optional: large format display screen for the EPE feed.

Per participant

1. Conferencing microphones for each active participant.

2. Laptop for each participant (active and passive) for the Realtime Transcription feed and accessing the electronic bundle and their private collaboration workspace.

3. Keyboard and mouse.

4. Extended screen for the EPE feed (if enabled).

5. Optional: additional personal extended screen for the video stream for active participants.

3. Setup checklist for remote participants

Where individual participants are not able to join a Hub, they should consider the following checklist:

Active and Passive participants

1. High-speed internet connection.

2. Desktop or laptop for the Realtime Transcription feed and optionally, EPE.

3. A comfortable headset that can be used for long periods or a personal speakerphone. Recommended: Plantronics Voyager
Focus UC Noise Cancelling Headset.

4. Recommended: additional screen for the EPE feed and/or video stream.

Active participants only

1. High-quality microphone. Recommended: Plantronics Voyager Focus UC Noise Cancelling Headset.

2. HD Webcam. Recommended: Logitech BRIO - Ultra HD Webcam.

4. Pre-hearing checklist

As virtual hearings involve a high technology component, we would always recommend allocating additional time before a hearing starts to set up equipment, test connections and brief participants:

1. Test the internet, audio and video connectivity.

2. Where audio or video recordings are being made, ensure they are on and working.

3. Test all screens to ensure everyone can see and has access to what they need.

4. Introduce all active participants.

5. Introduce the Opus 2 personnel and roles: Virtual Hearing Manager, Court Reporters and EPE Officer.

6. Housekeeping: present an overview of how the proceedings will be conducted and outline any key fault recovery processes in place.

 

checklist

Download the checklist

Request a copy of our virtual hearing checklist, and receive a downloadable version directly into your inbox for your future reference. 

Find out more about virtual hearings, powered by Opus 2

If you’re considering transitioning to a virtual hearing, the Opus 2 team is here to help. We’ll take away the hassle and provide you with all the support and expertise you need to conduct seamless virtual hearings, allowing the smooth running and timely conclusion of your matters.

Find out more