Well, lots of things and some of them I had not considered would be relevant – but these are exceptional times. So, rather than just one, let’s have a romp through those that are swimming around in my brain soup at present….
READ Yes. Read the stuff that your solicitor sends you. All of it and at least twice before you phone to comment on it. It will save you time and money. Solicitors rarely send you anything unless you actually do need to read and absorb it, so take the time. These are complicated and serious issues. Also, do not be shy about asking questions on what you have been sent. That is what your solicitor is there for….. but it will save you money if you read it all (and like Santa, check it twice) before you phone your solicitor. Try to avoid the ‘I’ve read half of it’ or ‘I’ve quickly read it but…’ Give it the time is deserves.
REMOTE We are in the midst of COVID19 health measures and boy, this is a word that has been overused, along with unprecedented. An unprecedented use of remote. There have been several versions of guidance to solicitors about how to prepare for and conduct remote hearings and several blog and video tutorials about how to handle a remote hearing.
So, what is a remote hearing? Well, basically, a hearing where you are not physically at the court, so it could be telephone or video conferencing. Most hearings I have had so far have been phone hearings. The court will telephone each participant involved and then put them in a ‘waiting room’ until the judge is ready. Each party then is connected, the judge checks everyone is there and reminds everyone that they should be in a room on their own on the call, no one else should be involved and no one should record the hearing. (The court system records the hearings).
My tips would be that you get yourself ready in good time for the hearing, make sure you have your court papers plus a notebook and pen ready and also phone in a couple of minutes before the hearing is due to begin so you can be sure there are no technical problems.
For video calls, the same tips apply but with an additional one. No pyjamas allowed. Treat it seriously, as you would if you were going to court.
RESPECTFUL. You still need to show respect to the court, whether there is a remote hearing or you are physically in the building. There have been stories of litigants shouting at a judge or shouting and arguing with each other, having a cigarette during a hearing, not being properly addressed. It really is best not to have membership of that dubious club.
REACH OUT Now, I am firmly of the view that you should not be using the phrase unless you are a member of The Four Tops and you are singing one of their greatest hits. However, I have seen this a lot and I think it is all about connecting with others. You have to work a bit harder to do that with your work colleagues – it’s easier when you plop yourself in the office chairs next to them. You have to make more effort with family members and friends. You’re getting more practise and this art of communication. Why not extend it to your ex-husband/ex-wife/ex-partner? Emails and text messages are okay but not as good as Zoom/Facetime/actual real life face to face. This is why Zoom/Facetime/Teams has gone crazy. It’s easier to misunderstand if you can’t see the person. If you can’t face seeing the person (and I understand that) then how about the good old fashioned phone?
And on the point of ‘reaching out’, we are still open for business so if you need advice and help, contact us. You can also use the Service Portal on our website to book a phone call or Zoom.