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26 June, 2020 Open access

Ministry of Justice confirms that video hearings are being made available across all Social Security and Child Support Tribunal regions

Minister advises that judges will determine if cases are suitable for video hearings, taking account of issues including the benefit under appeal and any difficulty the claimant has in using the technology

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has confirmed that it is making arrangements to make video hearings available across all Social Security and Child Support (SSCS) Tribunal regions.

Responding to a written parliamentary question yesterday on the MoJ’s plans to provide the option of hearings by video link for all SSCS First-tier Tribunal hearings, Justice Minister Chris Philp said -

‘HM Courts & Tribunals Service is working hard to keep our justice system functioning during this unprecedented public health emergency. We are focusing on priority cases, changing working practices and introducing new procedures to minimise risks to the judiciary, staff and all those who use our courts and tribunals access issues for participants.’

Having confirmed that all face to face hearings have been replaced by telephone or other remote hearing technology, in line with coronavirus (COVID-19) tribunals guidance, Mr Philp provided an update on progress towards the introduction of fully video hearings for SSCS appeals -

‘After a number of successful tests, arrangements are currently being made to introduce and make available Cloud Video Platform hearings in all SSCS Tribunal regions. The decision as to how a hearing is conducted is a matter for the judge who will determine how best to uphold the interests of justice. In considering the suitability of video/audio, judges will consider issues such as the benefit type under appeal, the nature of the matters at stake during the hearing and any issues the use of video/audio technology may present for participants in the hearing.’

NB - the plan to introduce fully video hearings in certain tribunal jurisdictions has been outlined by the Senior President of Tribunals in Tribunals Judicial Ways of Working.

Mr Philp’s written answer is available from parliament.uk