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A First in the Upper Tribunal - Hearing by Skype

Wayne Clark (instructed by Karen Mitchell at Eversheds Sutherland) and Oliver Radley-Gardner (instructed by Sabrina Cader at Winckworth Sherwood) appeared in the Upper Tribunal’s first ever online hearing on Friday, 20th March. The case concerned interim rights under the Electronic Communications Code. It may be useful to future advocates and other participants in such hearings to share their experiences. 

It is to be anticipated that more hearings will be dealt with in this way in the coming weeks, at any rate where no live witnesses are to be called. The process is as follows:

1. The Tribunal will notify the parties that the hearing is to be via Skype For Business. This will involve emailing a link to a Skype for Business meeting. 
2. For machines running Windows, it is sufficient to accept the invitation and click on the link and join. For Apple computers, Skype for Business can still be downloaded and advocates can join as “guests”, following the prompts given in the invitation. Though it is not clear whether it is essential, it appears advisable for Apple users to have the Skype for Business app downloaded before the hearing. 
3. After entering the call by following the prompts, one has to click on the microphone and camera icons to activate sound and video. 
4. Please note however that the quality of ordinary domestic broadband means that those using such internet services may find that the audio and video quality of the hearing is uneven. 

5. This was a hearing without cross-examination. The Tribunal would appear to still be listing full trials with live evidence as live and in person. That is all subject to review as the present circumstances unfold. 

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