Judiciary launches public consultation

June 16, 2022

The Judiciary today launched a three-month public consultation on the draft Courts (Remote Hearing) Bill and the related Practice Directions and Operational Guidelines.


At present, owing to legal impediments, most criminal cases cannot be heard remotely, while for civil proceedings, there are no express provisions setting out how matters pertinent to a remote hearing shall be handled.


The bill seeks to provide a comprehensive legal framework concerning the application, operation and effect of remote hearings for court proceedings in Hong Kong.


It also provides a clear legal basis for judges and judicial officers to order remote hearings at various levels of courts and tribunals where appropriate, having regard to all relevant factors, as well as the dual requirements of open justice and fair hearing.


Major features of the bill include details of the making of a remote hearing order; operation and legal effect of remote hearings; safeguards for open justice in remote hearings; and proposed new offences for the recording and publishing of remote and physical court hearings, as well as the broadcast of such hearings.


Legal professionals, interested parties and members of the public are invited to offer their views by September 15.


Click here for the consultation document. 

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