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RULE 47A
ELECTRONIC CONFERENCING

Analysis



Definitions

47A.01.  For the purposes of Rule 47A,

             (a)  "appear remotely" means to appear at an application, hearing, trial or conference by means of teleconference, videoconference, or other means of communication acceptable to the Court; and

             (b)  "participant" means a party, a lawyer for a party, or any other individual required to attend a Court proceeding.

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Appearing remotely without prior Court permission

47A.02.  (1) Where appropriate facilities are available at the Court or are provided by a party, a party or a lawyer for a party may, without the prior permission of the Court, appear remotely if the purpose of the appearance is to

             (a)  consent to an application or to indicate that the party is not contesting an application;

             (b)  attend a case management meeting held pursuant to Rule 18A;

             (c)  attend a pre-trial conference held pursuant to Rule 39A;

             (d)  appear for a status update; or

             (e)  make an application for directions.

             (2)  Sub-rule (1) does not apply to family law proceedings and a party seeking to appear remotely in a family law proceeding must make a request to the Registrar or a judge or an application pursuant to rule 47A.03.

             (3)  Where a party or a lawyer for a party wishes to appear remotely pursuant to sub-rule (1), he or she must inform the Court by noon the day before the appearance.

             (4)  Where a party or a lawyer for a party has given the Court notice that he or she intends to appear remotely, the Court may,

             (a)  direct a party to make any necessary arrangements and to give notice of those arrangements to all other parties and to the court; or

             (b)  despite subsection (1), direct the party or the lawyer for the party to appear in person instead.

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Appearing remotely with the permission of the Court

47A.03.  (1) Where appropriate facilities are available at the Court or are provided by a party, a participant may appear remotely for any purpose if, upon request to the Registrar or a judge, application to the Court, or on the Courts own initiative, the Court so permits or orders.

             (2)  A request to the Registrar pursuant to sub-rule (1) must be made

             (a)  by noon the day before the appearance where a participant wishes to appear remotely at any proceeding other than a trial;

             (b)  prior to

                      (i)  the setting of the trial date, or

                     (ii)  where there is a change in circumstances necessitating a remote appearance following the setting of the trial date, the earlier of 7 days before the trial readiness inquiry or 30 days before the date set for the trial,

where the participant wishes to appear remotely at a trial in a family law proceeding; or

             (c)  prior to

                      (i)  the date set for the pre-trial conference, or

                     (ii)  where there is a change in circumstances necessitating a remote appearance following the pre-trial conference, 30 days before the date set for the trial,

where the participant wishes to appear remotely at a trial in a civil proceeding.

             (3)  Where a participants request to the Registrar was denied pursuant to sub-rule (1), they may bring an application to the Court pursuant to sub-rule (1) and the Court shall consider this application without regard to the prior request.

             (4)  A person may appear remotely at an application pursuant to sub-rule (1) unless otherwise directed by the Court.

             (5)  Where the court directs or orders that a participant may appear remotely, the court may direct that participant to make the necessary arrangements and to give notice of those arrangements to the other parties and to the court.

             (6)  A judge may, upon his or her own initiative, appear remotely.

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Factors to consider

47A.04.  In deciding whether to permit or order that a participant appear remotely, the Court may consider,

             (a)  the general principle that evidence and argument are best presented orally and in person in open court;

             (b)  the nature of the evidence to be offered during the appearance and its importance to determining the issues in the case;

             (c)  the importance, in the circumstances of the case, of observing demeanor and whether the observation might be hampered by a remote appearance;

             (d)  the impact such an appearance might have on the courts ability to make findings, including credibility assessments;

             (e)  whether a party, lawyer for a party, or witness is unable to attend because of infirmity or illness;

             (f)  the cost and inconvenience of requiring the participant to attend the Court proceeding in person;

             (g)  whether the other parties consent to such an appearance; and

             (h)  any other relevant consideration.

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Discretion of the Court

47A.05.  A judge presiding at a proceeding or a step in a proceeding in which a participant is appearing remotely pursuant to Rule 47A may, in his or her discretion, adjourn the proceeding and require the participant to appear in person.

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Costs of conferencing

47A.06.  Where, on the application of a party, the Court permits a participant to appear remotely, with facilities to be provided by a party, the actual costs, unless otherwise ordered by the Court, shall be paid by the party making the request.

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