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09 June 2020
The substantive hearing of a winding-up petition which was successfully conducted via videoconferencing shows that the Grand Court is effectively responding to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 28 March 2020 the Grand Court announced modified procedures which would enable it to continue administering justice while complying with the Public Health (Prevention, Control and Supersession of COVID-19) Regulations 2020 and minimising any risk to its staff, jurors, attorneys and members of the public.
The Grand Court conducted testing before the hearing to ensure that all parties could successfully access the video session. This meant that no technical issues were experienced during the hearing and all parties were clearly heard on their submissions to the Grand Court. In addition, the parties exchanged electronic hearing bundles to which the presiding judge and parties could easily refer during the hearing.
The Grand Court's apparent seamless adaptation to these challenging times is a testament to its well-established technological capabilities, given that judges have frequently presided over interlocutory hearings by video link from abroad in the past. In addition, the honourable chief justice confirmed that the Grand Court's administrative functions continue through phone, email or other technological means and on 9 April 2020 the Grand Court released a practice direction setting out the remote hearing practice implemented by the Grand Court during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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