To use or not to use: Remote hearings in Hong Kong courts

Dominic WaiPartner, ONC Lawyers

The outbreak of COVID-19 resulted in the closure of the Judiciary for months on end in view of public health consideration. The result was that many cases were brought to a screeching halt. With the pandemic having no end in sight, in order to ensure that justice is duly administered continuously and effectively without compromising public health and safety, the Judiciary has been considering other alternative modes to conduct the hearings remotely.

The Judiciary has announced that, as Phase 1 starting from 3 April 2020, video-conferencing facilities (“VCF”) would be used for remote hearings for suitable civil cases of the High Court, and, as Phase 2 starting from 15 June 2020, there would be an expanded practice for remote hearings by the use of VCF and telephone in civil cases in civil courts, including the Court of Appeal, the Court of First Instance, the Competition Tribunal, the District Court and the Family Court.