Virtual Hearings Without Tears

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This Note seeks to provide some pointers, so that you can have virtual hearings (and meetings generally) without tears. If products are mentioned by name, you should treat these as suggestions and not endorsements. Do look at product reviews and speak with friends or colleagues before you decide, especially on expensive purchases. Click here to read the full Note. Here are the key “takeaways” (or click here for an infographic)

Physical and Tech Set-Up

1. Use a computer instead of a mobile phone. Your mobile phone can be a backup device. Because redundancy is good.

2. Consider using an external video camera so that you can have greater flexibility in positioning and possibly better quality video.

3. Consider using an external speaker and/or microphone if your built-in speaker and microphone do not seem to put you right in the hearing room.

4. Alternatively, a headset with headphone and microphone built in may work well for you, too.

5. Positioning your video camera at eye-level is best and try to keep it at a distance that makes the size of your face about two-thirds to four-fifths of the screen height.

6. Multiple monitors are great, and some lawyers think that a minimum of three are necessary.

7. A green screen will make virtual backgrounds much better, but you must be prepared for the physical space that a green screen will take up.

8. Consider getting video lights to get uniform and sufficient lighting on your face.

9. Try to get a wired connection for your broadband connection, all the way from where the fibre enters into your house, until your computer, instead of relying on WiFi.

10. If a WiFi connection is unavoidable, ask for a Mesh network to be set up, preferably using the latest WiFi 6 standards.

11. You can also deploy a 4G Mobile Router that can provide a totally separate network as a “backup” for your fibre optic broadband service.

Before the Hearing

12. Make sure you update your video conferencing software so that you are always using the latest version.

13. Check (and double-check) your camera, microphone and speakers.

14. Check in advance that you have the correct meeting entry credentials and can get in,  so that you can seek assistance if necessary. Do not wait until just a few minutes before the hearing!

During the Hearing

15. Try to minimise disruptions and interruptions and don’t indulge in cross-talk or unnecessary interjections.

16. Consider muting yourself when you are not speaking so that you do not inadvertently transmit any unintended audio.

17. Make sure you are complying with the relevant dress-code requirements.

Virtual Hearing Singapore Court
Edited by Tan Ken Hwee, Legal Technology Cluster
With contributions from Edmund Kronenburg, Gilbert Leong, Bryan Ghows, Lim Seng Siew, Bryan Tan, and Supreme Court Office of Transformation and Innovation officers Alexander Woon and Deanna Kwok.