Canadian Lawyer

February 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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ambient noise from interfering with the hearing and proceed- ings from being overheard by others. Two-screen minimum Two screens are a minimum requirement for each partic- ipant to allow them to review exhibits or other documents while still maintaining visual contact with the other participants. Hands-on practice Hopkins and Urbas also used the pre-hearing technical meeting not only to provide a technical check but to demon- strate the functionality of the meeting platform and allow participants to practise using it. Third-party IT support Many participants in the virtual hearings simulation expressed a desire to have designated third-party technical support available for the hearing, including: IT professionals from the firms involved; technical support from arbitral institutions; a third-party provider such as a court reporting service or the arbitration panel engaging a "tech secretary." Support might also come from co-counsel or a junior who is responsible for broadcasting and navigating within exhibits during cross-examination, third-party platform providers or IT support dealing with technical issues as they arise. Hearing preparation Many participants in the simulated hearings found they required greater preparation time, both to understand how to use the platform and how it would assist or hinder their presentation of the case. Length of preparation time required depended on participants' role during the hearing, their ease with technology and their experience with a platform. What's agreed is that the clock won't be turned back post-pandemic; virtual proceedings are here to stay. "I wouldn't be surprised if we hear calls, post-pandemic, of how we structure routine applications," which are heard in morning chambers every day: 24 matters that a justice or master must deal with, says Mestinsek. "A lot of that can be done remotely or nearly so," he adds. The move to virtual proceedings provides "an opportunity for people to look at costs, to think about routine hearings being [virtual] by default, which will free up the courtroom. "I wouldn't be surprised if that's part of this post-pandemic discussion, when we talk about our courts and the administra- tion of justice overall, because we're all looking for ways to free up time and resources to make it faster and more accessible to the public." Workplace issues never sleep. That's why our 24 hour line is answered by a Sherrard Kuzz lawyer every hour of every day, even on holidays. Whatever the issue. Whatever the time. Our 24 hour line means our clients sleep well at night even if we sometimes don't. If you're an employer, we're the only call you need to make. | 416.603.0700 250 Yonge St #3300, Toronto, ON M5B 2L7 @sherrardkuzz 24 HOUR 416.420.0738 We never call it a day.

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