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New Practice Direction on Observing Appeals

In normal times, people can walk into a courtroom at the Court of Appeal to watch a hearing, save for limited circumstances. This is part of the “open court” principle. However, due to the pandemic, appeals are being heard remotely by video conference.

The Court of Appeal has issued a practice direction stating that members of the public may observe or listen to hearings remotely, except for matters that are closed to the public.

Parties to a hearing and their counsel may share the Zoom details so that others can connect by video conference or telephone. If the Zoom details are shared, parties and counsel must also share a warning that it is an offence to record any part of the hearing. The specific wording of the warning is contained in the practice direction.

Members of the public and the media may also obtain the Zoom details by e-mailing the Office of the Registrar at least 48 hours in advance of the hearing (excluding weekends and holidays).