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General Rule 9

GENERAL RULE 9: REMOTE PROCEEDINGS

A. Definitions

(1) “Civil case” is as defined in California Rules of Court, rule 3.672(c)(1), and includes Juvenile Dependency and Juvenile Justice cases, unless otherwise specified.

(2) “Remote technology” means technology that provides for the transmission of video and audio signals or audio signals alone, including, but not limited to, a computer, tablet, telephone, cell phone, or other electronic communication device.

(3) “Remote appearance” means the appearance at a court hearing using remote technology by a party, attorney, witness, expert, social worker or other court participant.

(4) “Remote proceeding” means a proceeding conducted in whole or in part using remote technology.

B. Requirements for Remote Appearances

(1) A person appearing remotely must:

(a) Have sufficient internet speed and/or telephone connectivity to fully participate in all aspects of the hearing without disruption.

(b) Have the ability to clearly communicate with the court and all other participants at the hearing through a telephone, cell phone, microphone, headset or other similar device enabling a clear audio stream.

(c) If appearing by video, have a device capable of capturing and displaying a clear video stream.

(d) Have an indoor location with limited background noise that the person can use for the entire hearing.

(e) Ensure there are no interruptions or distractions for the duration of their appearance at the hearing. No other individual may appear with the participant or be heard during the hearing without prior court approval, other than when an attorney appears with their client from a common remote location.

(f) Observe the same degree of courtesy, decorum, and courtroom etiquette as required for an in-person appearance. Attorneys must appear in professional business attire. A remote court appearance is a court appearance and must be conducted consistent with the Court’s Standing Order Regarding the Santa Clara County Bar Association Code of Professionalism.

(g) Comply with California Rules of Court, rule 1.150 and Local General Rule 2, by not recording, photographing, capturing an image of, or broadcasting any part of or any participant to a remote proceeding in any manner.

(h) Comply with any other instructions for remote appearances given by the judicial officer.

(2) The court may reschedule or continue a remote proceeding if the requirements listed in (B)(1) are not satisfied or if a distraction or disturbance interferes with the hearing.

(3) A party, witness, reporter, interpreter or other participant should make an effort to alert the judicial officer of technological or audibility issues during a hearing by sending a message through the “chat” function of the remote technology, by informing another participant in the hearing, or by sending an email to the hearing department.

(4) Unless approved by the court, participants must appear with their camera turned on if appearing by video. If a participant has security concerns about appearing on camera, this concern should be brought to the court’s attention prior to the hearing.

(5) If a participant is only able to appear by telephone, the participant must identify themselves when requested by the court and thereafter when speaking during the hearing. Participants appearing by telephone may not place the court on hold or use a speakerphone. Participants may turn off “caller ID” when appearing by telephone.

C. Court Discretion to Require In-Person Appearance

Notwithstanding the other provisions of this rule and the availability of remote technology, the court may, in its discretion, consistent with Code of Civil Procedure section 367.75:

(1) Require a party, attorney, or other participant to appear at any hearing in person; or

(2) On its own motion, conclude a remote proceeding and require a party or attorney to appear in person at a subsequent or continued hearing.

D. Notice and Waiver for Duration of Case

(1) Except as required by (C), a party may at any time during a civil case provide notice to the court and all other parties that the party intends to appear remotely for the duration of the case by filing Judicial Council of California form RA-010 , Notice of Remote Appearance, at least 5 court days before the next scheduled hearing in the case.

(2) All parties to a civil case may agree to waive notice of any other participants’ remote appearance through a written stipulation filed with the court or through an oral stipulation made at a hearing

E. Self-Represented Parties

A remote appearance by a self-represented party in a civil case will be construed as an agreement to appear remotely at the hearing pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 367.75, subdivision (g).

F. Evidentiary Hearings

(1) The following evidentiary hearings will presumptively be conducted remotely, in whole or in part, as directed by the assigned judicial officer, in the Family Division:

(a) Court trials

(b) Evidence Code 402 and 403 hearings

(c) Fee waiver hearings

(d) Hearings on Requests for Order

(e) Review hearings based on a Request for Order, including Post Mediation Hearings, Judicial Custody Conferences, and Custody Settlement Conferences

(f) Hearings on orders to show cause

(g) Hearings regarding requests for domestic violence and gun violence, civil harassment and elder abuse restraining orders

(h) Hearings regarding requests for civil harassment and elder abuse restraining orders, when heard in the Family Division

(i) Long-cause hearings

For such remote evidentiary hearings, the court may nevertheless grant leave for a party, attorney, witness, or other court participant to appear in person, and such leave may be granted at the hearing itself.

(2) The court may exercise its discretion to require an in‐person hearing or in‐person testimony for the foregoing evidentiary hearings, on a hearing‐by‐hearing basis, either upon its own motion or after a party has filed an opposition to a remote hearing or remote testimony. A party may request that the court disallow a remote appearance or remote testimony by filing Judicial Council of California form RA-015 , Opposition to Remote Proceeding at Evidentiary Hearing or Trial, at least 5 court days before the remote proceeding.

G. Other Hearings Held In Person

(1) Except for the hearings listed in (F)(1), all other hearings will presumptively be held in person in civil cases unless the court orders the proceeding to be held remotely or grants leave for a participant to appear remotely.

(2) All parties to a civil case may agree to a remote proceeding through a written stipulation filed with the court or through an oral stipulation made at a hearing. The court may accept or reject the stipulation.

(3) A person may provide notice that the person intends to appear remotely at a hearing in the Civil Division, Family Division, Probate Division, or in Juvenile Justice by filing Judicial Council of California form RA-010 , Notice of Remote Appearance, at least 5 court days before the hearing. This provision does not apply to dependency hearings in the Juvenile Division.

(4) Any person who is authorized to be present at a juvenile dependency hearing, other than a testifying witness, may request to appear remotely using any means, oral or written, that is reasonably calculated to ensure receipt by the court no later than the time the case is called for hearing. The court retains discretion under (C) above to require an in-person appearance.

(5) Any request for a remote appearance by a testifying witness in a juvenile dependency case must be made in writing by counsel for the party calling the witness or, if the party does not have counsel, by the party, by filing the request with the court and serving a copy of the request on counsel for all other parties or, if a party does not have counsel, on the party, by any means authorized by law reasonably calculated to ensure receipt no later than close of business three court days before the proceeding. The court retains discretion under (C) above to require an in-person appearance by the witness.

(6) A remote appearance by a person who has not provided advance notice will be construed as a request to appear remotely pursuant to California Rules of Court, rule 3.672(j)(2). The court may grant leave for the person to appear remotely at the hearing.

(Eff. 4/01/22)




 

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