Remote Hearings

 

Notes on CAM-CCBC Remote Meetings and Hearings

In view of the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the CAM-CCBC is now conducting all  proceedings under its administration 100%  remotely, maintaining the usual excellence and efficiency of its services.

For this purpose and based on article 2.6 (c) and (f) of its Rules, Administrative Resolution No. 40/2020 was issued, whereby: (i) until  otherwise decided, all physical protocols, in-person hearings and meetings are suspended; and (ii) proceedings shall be managed solely by electronic means using tools that enable all communication of procedural acts, statements and protocols, meetings and hearings to take place electronically, in a safe and effective manner.

Thus, CAM-CCBC publishes the following Notes on Remote Meetings and Hearings, with the objective of presenting clarifications and recommendations to the parties, attorneys, experts, arbitrators and other participants in proceedings administered by the CAM-CCBC.[1]

1. Preliminary technical issues 

 1.1.Participants [2] of remote meetings and hearings (“Remote Hearings”) must have a minimum technical equipment that allows the works to be carried out without complications and in a satisfactory manner, ensuring the right to defense and equal treatment between the Parties [3].

1.2. For the purposes of prior support and in the course of the Remote Hearing, an IT technician from the CAM-CCBC will accompany the works from start to finish, for prompt assistance in case any technical issues arise.

1.3.For Remote Hearings, the CAM-CCBC provides the use of third-party platforms, subject to their respective terms and conditions, which must be analyzed and agreed upon in advance by the participants. The CAM-CCBC ratified the use of Microsoft Teams and Zoom, but is not responsible for the use, security or availability of these platforms. If the use of another platform is required by the arbitral tribunal or by the parties, the CAM-CCBC Secretariat must be informed in advance and in a timely manner so that the desired platform is analyzed, approved and ratified.

1.4. The Secretariat is trained to conduct Remote Hearings on both of the aforementioned platforms and will act, unless otherwise determined, as host for the purposes of: scheduling, sending access links, managing access permissions on the platform (waiting rooms) and eventually excluding Participants, contacting stenography and translation professionals, when applicable, as well as establishing communication with the CAM-CCBC IT technician.

2. Remote Hearing planning

2.1. The arbitral tribunal, in case there is a need for a meeting or hearing, shall consult the parties and decide upon the occurrence of the Remote Hearing.

2.2. Once the scheduling of the Remote Hearing is determined, the Secretariat shall consult with the arbitral tribunal on the virtual platform [4] it intends to use, providing information and technical support for said decision, with the matters discussed in items 1.3 and 1.4 being hereby emphasized.

2.3. Once the virtual platform has been chosen, the Secretariat will ask the parties’ counsel to inform the full names of the Participants and the electronic addresses that should receive the access link, in order to send the invites for the realization of the test prior to the date of the hearing. The test is essential to the good progress of the Remote Hearing, allowing for testing on compatibility, equipment performance and Participant connection to be carried out.

2.4. The tests shall be monitored by the Case Manager in charge of the proceeding and by the CAM-CCBC IT technician.

2.5. After carrying out the tests, the Secretariat will send the invite for the Remote Hearing, via e-mail, to all Participants.

2.6. The Secretariat shall consult with the arbitral tribunal on the need to hire stenography [5] and translation services [6], as the case may be.

2.7. It is the responsibility of the Parties’ counsel to inform the Secretariat of the electronic addresses of factual and technical witnesses, legal representatives or other Participants, so that information regarding the hearing may be sent to them. It is also the responsibility of the Parties’ counsel to inform the Secretariat and arbitral tribunal in advance on other participants and third-parties that will share the same physical space as another participant.

2.8. The Secretariat will forward to the arbitral tribunal the list of persons who will take part in the Remote Hearing, duly accompanied by the electronic addresses (“List of Participants”).

2.9. The electronic case files will remain available for consultation by arbitrators and parties’ counsel.

2.10. Documents to be used in the Remote Hearing must be presented by the parties’ counsel in a digital core bundle, and must be made available by the CAM-CCBC Secretariat in a link for this purpose. In order to make the works more efficient, the documents must be organized and ordered according to their presentation and identified according to the denomination in the case files.

 3. Remote Hearing 

3.1. On the day designated for the Remote Hearing, all Participants must access the platform at least 30 (thirty) minutes before the scheduled time for the start of the works, in order to ensure the last test of equipment operation and the verification of other technical issues.

3.2. At the beginning of the Hearing, it is suggested that the arbitral tribunal, in possession of the List of Participants, makes a roll call confirming attendance.

3.2.1. If the Remote Hearing is accessed by anyone who is not on the Participant List, this fact must be immediately reported to the arbitral tribunal. The arbitral tribunal must also be informed if any person who is not on the Participant List is in the same physical space as any of the Participants.

3.3. At any time during the Remote Hearing, the arbitral tribunal, ex officio or at the request of the parties’ counsel, may ask the Participants to display the physical environment in which they are located (360º rotation) in order to verify and confirm the people present on site.

3.4. Unless otherwise determined by the arbitral tribunal, the Secretariat will be the only entity authorized and responsible for recording the Remote Hearing, which will be carried out by means of a resource made available on the platform itself and, eventually, by means of a conventional recorder as a backup copy.

3.4.1 Any slide shows and/or documents to be viewed in the course of the Remote Hearing must be displayed by the interested party through the screen sharing feature available on the platform.

3.5. For the works to be better conducted, for clarity in the presentations and statements, as well as to facilitate translation services, one speaker must wait for the previous one to end its speech.

3.6. It is recommended that the hearing schedule of the witnesses and/or other Participants be established before the Remote Hearing is held. If the hearing schedule has not been previously determined, parties’ counsel must inform the arbitral tribunal which witness they intend to call, with the Secretariat, as the event organizer (host), remaining responsible for giving the witness access to the Remote Hearing room. Likewise, the Secretariat will monitor the witness’s exit from the Remote Hearing room, at the end of their hearing.

3.7. If, in the course of the Remote Hearing, the arbitral tribunal or the parties’ counsel need an exclusive room for the purpose of deliberation or meeting, the Secretariat will provide access to the referred rooms, sending the respective links to those who must access them.

3.8. If there is any type of technical error or complication, the arbitral tribunal may suspend the Remote Hearing, determining its resumption on the same day or on a new date.

ANNEX I – Suggestions to participants in remote hearings

  • Stay in a reserved place, with minimum external noise, without access by third parties and/or to documents;
  • Place the camera so that it is possible to clearly see your face, ensuring proper interaction between participants;
  • Use a screen large enough so that any projected documents can be easily read;
  • Be prepared to show the environment in which you are located, if so determined by the arbitral tribunal;
  • When accessing the Remote Hearing room, Participants undertake not to use any recording devices;
  • When accessing the Remote Hearing room, participants are aware that the hearing may be recorded by the CAM-CCBC Secretariat and transcribed, if determined by the tribunal;
  • In case of doubts, contact the Case Manager in charge [7];
  • Access the Remote Hearing room at least 30 minutes in advance so that any technical adjustments may be performed;
  • Dress as you would for a hearing;
  • When accessing the Hearing room, witnesses and legal representatives should not access documents or receive guidance in the course of their intervention, unless expressly authorized by the arbitral tribunal to do so;
  • Identify yourself when entering the Remote Hearing room with your full name and in what capacity you are participating;
  • Keep your video on throughout the Remote Hearing;
  • Keep your microphone muted when you are not speaking;
  • Wait for your predecessor’s speech to end before performing any intervention.

ANNEX II – Technical Requirements

The virtual platforms used by CAM-CCBC to hold Remote Hearings (Microsoft Teams and Zoom) are third-party tools for communication by sound and video with the ability to gather several people in the same virtual meeting.

These tools were analyzed by the CAM-CCBC IT team and were approved for use considering the users’ familiarity, usability, security levels provided, in addition to the essential technical requirements for holding a Remote Hearing, such as the possibility of access to Participants’ video and audio, sharing screens for projecting presentations and documents, chatting between Participants, among others.

The use of such platforms is subject to their respective terms and conditions, which must be analyzed and agreed upon in advance by the Participants. CAM-CCBC approved the use of Microsoft Teams and/or Zoom, but is not responsible for the use, security and or availability of these platforms.

To use them, from an operational perspective, it will suffice for the user to have a device (laptop, desktop computer, tablet or cell phone, since both are multiplatform) with a camera, microphone and internet access.

However, in order to connect to a specific Remote Hearing, it is necessary to access a link, created exclusively for that event, which will be sent by the Secretariat by e-mail. During the meeting, it is possible to see the Participants and be seen (provided that the respective cameras are enabled), as well as to hear and be heard (as long as the microphone is not muted).

In addition, documents and presentations can be easily projected using the screen sharing tool.

The tutorial below demonstrates how to access and use the Microsoft Teams platform: Remote Hearing and Meeting Tutorial – Via Microsoft Teams

What follows are some specifications and suggestions so that meetings are held without technical difficulties:

  • Internet speed: 1 Mbps/2 Mbps – High-definition group video calls (540p video on a 1080p screen);
  • Connection test: perform a test to figure out whether the download and upload speeds will meet the necessary demands for video-based meetings (suggested link: https://speedtest.net/pt);
  • Preferably use cable-based connections;
  • Simulate conferences in advance with Participants;
  • Use headphones in cases of one user per device; and
  • Seek technical support during the call.

Finally, we emphasize that the Case Manager responsible for the proceeding and the CAM-CCBC IT technician will accompany the hearing, so as to provide all the necessary support and ensure the smooth running of the works.

[1] Among others, in the preparation of these Notes on Remote Meetings and Hearings, the experience of the CAM-CCBC Secretariat was taken into account and, therefore, at any time, these Notes may be expanded and updated to gather new suggestions and contributions to ensure constant improvements in the management of proceedings.

[2] Participants in Remote Meetings and Hearings, hereinafter referred to as “Participants” include: case managers, members of the arbitral tribunal and any secretaries, parties and legal representatives, lawyers, interns, stenographers, interpreters, factual and technical witnesses, assistants and IT technicians from CAM-CCBC assigned to support the meeting or hearing.

[3] The mandatory requirements referred to in this item can be found in Annex II.

[4] According to Administrative Resolution No. 40/2020, “in order not to hinder the progress of proceedings, the CAM-CCBC Secretariat will make it possible to hold Remote Hearings, via Microsoft Teams or a similar platform, with the monitoring of the responsible case manager and of an IT technician”. (emphasis added)

[5] The Remote Hearing stenography service can be hired in the following ways: (i) transcription – the professional stenographer does not accompany the hearing in real time; rather, they later receive its recording, which is used to perform the transcription; (ii) in real time – the professional stenographer participates in the Remote Hearing and performs the transcription in real time.

[6]The translation may be simultaneous – the translator provides interpretation in real time, which is heard by the participant(s) who need the translation using parallel channels or specific devices – or consecutively – the translator writes down his considerations and translates the speech, after the original intervention, for all participants – in Remote Hearings. In the case of simultaneous translation, the Secretariat must alert the arbitral tribunal about the measures that will be adopted, including the particular technical needs of this measure. If the translation is consecutive, the time allocation should consider the impact of the translation.

[7] The case manager is identified by the final part of the proceeding number, for instance, ARB. XXX/XXXX/SECX. Case Manager contact information may be accessed by the website https://ccbc.org.br/cam-ccbc-centro-arbitragem-mediacao/en/about-the-cam/organizational-structure/.

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