6. Virtual Hearing Best Practices and Etiquette
(a) Hearing participants shall have an appropriate technical set-up and observe the etiquette that is appropriate to the nature of virtual hearings. The following list provides best practices that will ensure effective participation in the remote Hearing. However, the list is not exhaustive and is provided with the understanding that the circumstances of each participant may vary:
i. Counsel, parties and others attending the Hearing should participate in a private and quiet space:
- Minimizing background noise is advisable; and,
- Counsel, parties and others participating should ensure their microphones are muted when not speaking to reduce echo and background noise.
ii. At the beginning of the Hearing, each participant shall identify him/herself/themselves and any other persons present at that participant’s physical location.
iii. Counsel, parties and others participating should speak slowly and clearly, keeping in mind that possible Internet connectivity issues and technical difficulties could cause delays or unintended sound distortions during the Hearing.
iv. Counsel, parties and others participating in virtual hearings are expected to dress in appropriate professional attire.
v. Unless otherwise directed by the Tribunal, it is not necessary to stand when the presiding Tribunal member joins the Hearing or when addressing the presiding Tribunal member.
vi. Counsel, parties and others participating should ensure that their electronic device is plugged in and fully charged. vii. Counsel, parties and others participating shall join the Hearing 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start time. The Hearing shall not begin until the Tribunal is satisfied that all necessary counsel for the parties and other participants are adequately connected to the platform.
vii. Counsel should consider a way to communicate with clients and co-counsel privately during the Hearing (e.g., email, text messages, etc.) in a manner that ensures confidentiality, is separate from communication channels with opposing parties and allows counsel to keep a record of client instructions. The use of virtual breakout rooms may also be an available option to parties should the virtual meeting platform support the functionality.