Guidelines for attending an online hearing
An online hearing enables a person to have their matter heard from a remote location.
Online hearings via Webex
The Magistrates’ Court of Victoria uses the Webex platform for online hearings. To appear online, you need a valid email address and access to the internet. The court will provide you with a link via email. You do not need to download an app. You can appear using a computer, laptop, tablet or a mobile phone. It is your responsibility to ensure that:
- you have the correct link and necessary audio and visual technology to participate
- you can link in from a suitable private location
- you can link in at your allocated time
- you remain with your camera and microphone off until the matter is called for hearing.*
*A failure to comply with the above may result in a requirement to attend court at short notice.
Refer to the Webex user guide for more information.
Before an online hearing
There are several things you can do to prepare for an online hearing.
- Test your technology and internet connection before the hearing to resolve any issues with connectivity, vision and audio.
- Ensure your device is charged and that you can be heard clearly through your speaker or microphone. Where possible, wear a headset.
- Turn off your phone and ensure you are in a closed-door space that respects the privacy of all court participants. If at home, make sure there is no background noise or distractions from other people.
- Dress like you are physically appearing at court
- When the Webex program launches, microphones and cameras will be off.
- Webex allows participants to blur their background or upload a background image.
- To upload a background image: In self-view window, select the Video options icon, select Change Virtual Background to Blur or use a default virtual background. To use your own background, select the + icon.
- If the matter hasn’t started yet, please be patient.
During an online hearing
It is important to comply with all court requirements and protocols during an online hearing. Even though you are not physically in the courtroom, an online hearing is an extension of traditional court, and the same guidelines and conventions apply.
- All participants MUST obey any direction given by the presiding judicial officer or bench clerk with regard to the conduct of the hearing, including whether you are to have their cameras on or off. If you do not comply you will be removed from the hearing.
- You must identify yourself when requested to do so by the magistrate.
- Be aware that the bench clerk can mute your sound. Please do not unmute yourself.
- Don’t eat or drink on camera.
- Don’t move around during the hearing. Remember, you would need to seek leave to move around a courtroom – the same applies to the digital setting.
WARNING: It is a criminal offence under Section 4A and 4B of the Courts Security Act 1980 for anyone to take photographs, record or transmit any portion of a proceeding including taking screen shots on either the device you have connected from or another device. All hearings are recorded according to the Magistrates' Court Act 1989. The standard application process to obtain recordings applies.