Remote court hearings

Some court hearings are remote. That means some or all of the people participating appear in court by video or by phone. There may be a fee to appear by video or by phone.

Your court may send you a notice that your hearing will be remote. If they didn't and you need to appear remotely, you can ask for a remote hearing.

Ask for a remote hearing 

These are general instructions. You can get specific instructions from your court.

As soon as possible, you should ask a court clerk or the Self-Help Center how to ask for a video or phone hearing. You may have different options for how you can access the hearing.

  • Some courts allow you to access a hearing by video or phone through a remote appearance platform (like Zoom or Teams). If audio only, you will get a phone number to call into the hearing.
  • Some courts allow you to access a hearing by phone through a telephone appearance provider. You may have to pay a fee for this. If you have a fee waiver order, the fee will be waived.

Many courts have instructions or a form to ask for a remote hearing posted on their website. The court will give you instructions on how to join your remote hearing. 

Prepare for a remote hearing

Below are tips on how to prepare, join, and access interpretations for your hearing.

  • Make sure you have a strong mobile or internet connection.

  • If you are joining through video, download your court's video conference app ahead of time.

    Many courts use Zoom, but some may use another technology platform. Check your court’s website to see which platform they use. It's a good idea to log in and practice using their app before your hearing date so you feel comfortable:

  • Accessibility resources:
    • How to prepare for your Zoom court hearing with sign language interpretation (video, transcript)
    • How to attend your Zoom court hearing with sign language interpretation (video, transcript)
  • If you are joining by audio only (phone), review the instructions for how and when to call into the hearing.

  • Charge your phone, tablet, or computer ahead of time.

    Your device should be fully charged for your hearing.

  • Use headphones or earbuds if possible.

    This can improve sound quality.

  • Find a quiet, well-lit space.

    Use a space that's quiet, where you won't be distracted by other people or background noise. If using video, avoid dark rooms or rooms where the light is directly behind you.

  • Send your evidence to the court and the other side ahead of time.

    If you plan to show evidence (like documents or photos) during the hearing, the court and the other side may need copies mailed or emailed to them before the hearing. (If you’re not sure whether you need to send evidence, contact your Self-Help Center.)

  • Connect to interpretation for your remote court proceeding:

During your remote hearing

If this is your first time appearing in court, see Tips for your Day in Court. Many of these apply to remote hearings as well.
  • When you first join, you may have to wait in a virtual “waiting room” for your case to be called.
  • When it’s your turn, the judge will move you from the virtual “waiting room” to the “hearing room.”
  • The judge will make sure everyone can hear and will go over the rules.
  • If you're appearing by video, you will see a picture and/or name of each person in your hearing on your screen.
  • When not speaking, use the mute button (usually an icon of a microphone) to mute yourself to improve sound quality.
  • Whenever you speak, say your name and avoid interrupting others.

Remote hearings are live and may be open to the public. 

Everyone in a remote meeting can hear what you say. Follow the same rules you would in a courtroom.