Dispute Resolution, Litigation, Arbitration

Pilot Testing of Videoconference Hearings

The Supreme Court commenced the pilot testing of hearings conducted via videoconferencing on urgent matters in criminal cases amid reported COVID-19 infections among Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDLs).

The hearings through videoconference shall be conducted in selected courts enumerated in Administrative Circular 37-2020. It shall cover newly-filed and pending criminal cases in all stages of trial such as arraignment, pre-trial, bail hearings, trial proper, and promulgation of judgment.

The courts authorized to conduct the said pilot test will be provided with the necessary software, licenses, and all other applications needed to host and run the videoconference proceedings, which must closely resemble the in-person appearances, testimonies and experiences of the litigants and parties in courts. Despite the virtual nature of a videoconference, the dignity and solemnity of in-court proceedings shall be observed.

In a previous issuance, the Supreme Court declared that the rights of the accused to be present and defend in person at every stage of the proceedings, to testify as a witness in his or her own behalf, and to confront and cross-examine the witnesses against him or her at trial are deemed satisfied when such appearance and testimony are made remotely through videoconferencing.

The foregoing pilot testing of videoconference hearing shall apply only during the declared period of public health emergency.

Click to read the following related issuances:

Click to read the related article Lower Bail and Recognizance to Decongest Jails During COVID-19 Pandemic.


Disclaimer: The information in this website is provided for general informational purposes only. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from Platon Martinez or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances.