KHM GUIDE FOR PARTIES APPEARING VIA VIDEO/TELEPHONIC FOR HEARINGS
Video Appearances. For video appearances, parties need to have internet, web camera, and
microphone capabilities. If you do not, please discuss this with your
attorney so that appropriate arrangements can be made. Video appearances
will be used for almost any contested matter unless there is a specific
agreement for telephonic appearances. Witnesses may be via telephone or
video. It is the attorney’s responsibility to ensure that witnesses
have the appropriate information for appearance and testimony. Non-parties
will be held in waiting rooms or virtual lobbies until it is time for
their testimony. When a witness is not testifying, they will not be able
to see or hear the proceedings. No party nor any witness shall discuss
their testimony in preparation of trial or during trial.
Dress For Court. Even for web-based hearings, it is important to wear appropriate attire.
Unless we’ve discussed dressing differently, men should usually
wear slacks with a polo or buttoned shirt, and women slacks or a skirt
with professional blouse/sweater. Don’t be tempted to overdress
– wearing a suit or military dress uniform may seem like you’re
showing respect to the Court, but it could also convey an image which
is needlessly successful (could hurt in a maintenance case) or sterile/professional
(bad for parenting). And don’t underdress – no jeans, T-shirts,
tennis shoes, sandals, or revealing clothing as it will likely send a
message of sloppiness and disrespect. Even when appearing via video, the
court will go into recess and there may be other breaks where you may
want to move around, make sure to remember that the other participants
will see what you are wearing on the bottom, so dressing appropriately
from head to toe is recommended. Hats are not permitted in the courtroom
and also should not be worn during telephone testimony.
Conduct During Court. During Court proceedings, be polite to everyone. Do not speak unless being
questioned, and please do not whisper or make audible reactions. Never
speak over anyone, especially the Judge. Unless you are testifying you
should place your microphone on mute until you need to speak and be heard.
Always address the court as “Your Honor” and be polite to
the other side. It is okay to write notes to us or email if you need something,
or a private chat if that feature is available, when you are not testifying.
Answer all questions in a straightforward manner, with no quibbling, unless
the attorney has objected to the question. Be mindful of your non-verbal
conduct as well; most of the time the video focus is on the speaker, and
rather than looking at you from ten or more feet, the Judge is looking
straight at a video close up, watching your reaction for clues while the
other party and witnesses are testifying. Facial expressions are more
predominant in video conferencing so please control your expressions.
Environment. In the courthouse, there is generally a prohibition of drink/food, children,
and other distractions. Wherever you decide to participate in the hearing,
it should be free from distractions, including children and pets. You
should not be eating during your hearing, nor chewing gum. It is appropriate
to have water. Although the court is sympathetic to stay at home orders,
they do not want children interrupting proceedings. If you have your children
at home, there is an expectation that they will not be present during
the proceedings and if they are, it is possible that your hearing will
be suspended and continued to a subsequent day. If you have childcare
issues or other concerns those should be discussed and raised with the
attorney in which you are involved so that necessary arrangements can be made.
Exhibits. Exhibits will be provided to both parties, the court, and any witness
prior to the trial date. During the trial, it is your responsibility to
ensure that you can open and view documents that will be referred to in
live time. Once you receive the link or exhibit download, you should open
it and create a format which is user friendly for you so that you are
prepared for trial. If there are any issues, please immediately contact
your attorney and respective paralegal before the day of trial so the
issue can be remedied. You should practice locating different exhibits
and review them prior to trial so that you are familiar with them. Most
people find it easiest to view exhibits on a device other than the one
which you are using to testify. If you cannot locate an exhibit during
trial, there is a risk that it will be unable to be admitted.