Guide to Best Practices
In order to help counsel and parties prepare for and participate in the virtual hearings that the Court of Appeal is now holding, today the Court is publishing its online Guide to Best Practices which contains all the necessary information. Members of the public who want to know how to attend virtual hearings will also find the necessary information in the Guide. Guide to Best Practices
Motion presentable before a judge
The Court is offering parties and counsel the possibility of presenting their motions before a judge alone by way of videoconference, in a “virtual courtroom”, from the location of their choice (home or office), without the need to travel. This approach, which complies with the social distancing requirements of the current health emergency, will be favoured and will, save for certain exceptions, make it possible to deal with most motions that fall within the jurisdiction of the Court’s judges sitting alone, in all matters and no longer in only urgent ones.
Upon receipt of a motion intended for a judge alone, the Court office will contact the parties or their counsel, as the case may be, in order to provide them with the necessary information.
Appeals on merits
As of May 25, 2020, the Court will resume, on a regular basis, the hearing of appeals and motions presentable before a panel. In order to comply with the physical distancing requirements resulting from the current situation, these hearings will be in principle held by videoconference, in "virtual courtroom" mode (unless the matter is to proceed without a hearing - see under "Appeals decided without a hearing" at https://courdappelduquebec.ca/en/covid-19-pandemic-update/). Parties or counsel will therefore be able to participate in a hearing from the location of their choice (home or office), without the need to travel. The Court office will contact the parties or counsel concerned in order to make the necessary arrangements for this purpose. Please take note that a virtual hearing may not be appropriate for certain matters, in which case the Court office will also contact those concerned.
Join a virtual courtroom session via the WebRTC Portal
The virtual courtroom is easy to use and is secure. It also makes it possible to record discussions.
The email sent by the Court office confirming the holding of a hearing in "virtual courtoom" mode contains the necessary information for parties or counsel to connect themselves, including the conference number specific to each file.
Parties or counsel can also consult the following information document, prepared by the Ministère de la Justice, summarizing the procedure for joining a "virtual courtroom" session: Join a room virtual audience via the WebRTC Portal.
In order to support users of the virtual courtrooms, the Ministère de la Justice has set up a space when parties and counsel can familiarize themselves with videoconferences. They can use the space to connect to a virtual videoconference bridge where they can test their connection and ask questions in real-time to a technician about how to use the videoconferencing features of the WebRTC solution adopted by the Court for its virtual courtrooms. This new service is available Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.:
Parties and counsel are encouraged to use this service before participating in a virtual courtroom hearing before a judge alone or a panel of the Court.
Public nature of hearings
The use of virtual courtrooms does not prevent the public from attending hearings, given that the open court principle subsists (subject to the exceptions that apply under normal circumstances). The rolls for the Court will be posted on the Court's website, as usual, at https://courdappelduquebec.ca/en/rolls/ .
Members of the public (including journalists) can attend virtual hearings via audio. By emailing a request to the office of the Court in Montreal or Quebec City, depending on the hearing venue, [Office of the Court in Quebec City: email@example.com; Office of the Court in Montreal: firstname.lastname@example.org ], they will be able to receive instructions and the required codes.
The physical presence of members of the public in courtrooms will be authorized only once the directives of the public health authorities permit. Please visit this website on a regular basis to keep up to date. If you are a journalist, please contact the Court office (Office of the Court in Quebec City: Tel.: 418-649-3401 or email@example.com ; Office of the Court in Montreal: Tel: 514-393-2022 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
It should also be noted that the Guidelines concerning the use of technological devices in courtrooms apply to virtual hearings, with the necessary modifications (Guidelines concerning the use of technological devices in courtrooms). Thus, subject to the exceptions set out in said Guidelines, no participant is authorized to capture a screen shot, record the hearing or broadcast it by any means whatsoever.