The world has been plagued by a pandemic virus for the last few months and as we begin to reemerge, courts are resuming requiring attendance of litigants in various socially distanced ways.
Once such way that courts are resuming is by having participants appear via Zoom. Zoom is a platform that allows multiple participants to video conference; the judge and court staff appear by video and each participant similarly can be seen by the judge and other participants. Because this is a court appearance, it is important that you follow some basic etiquette rules:
- Be mindful of your surroundings – the last thing you want is for everyone (like the judge) to see something in the background of your video that is incriminating or illegal. Look around at your background to see what everyone else will be able to see BEFORE you get onto the virtual courtroom.
- Similarly, be mindful of who is in the room. Screaming kids or barking dogs are not welcome participants in these hearings.
- As soon as you are admitted into the virtual hearing, mute yourself until you are asked to unmute and participate.
- Be sure that your name appears in the box that has your video image (sometimes it just comes up as a number or blank, the court needs to know who you are).
- Remember you are in court. Dress appropriately. No smoking. No foul language. No hats. And address the judge as “your Honor” and respond with full words say “Yes, your Honor” NOT “yeah”.
We are all still uncertain how long these protocols will be in place and how long we will be appearing in virtual court instead of the brick and mortar courthouse, so please keep these tips in mind as we navigate this new normal.