Q&A – Virtual Hearings and MS Teams information and instructions
The Court of Queen’s Bench and Provincial Court are now using Microsoft Teams (“Teams”) as our platform for conferences and hearings being held virtually. We are looking to expand our use of the Teams video conferencing platform to a wide variety of court proceedings, when this technology is suitable for the litigants and the issues involved.
1. What equipment do I need?
The Court uses Microsoft Teams to conduct court hearings virtually. Participation in a Teams hearing requires internet access and a computer, tablet or smartphone with microphone and camera capabilities enabled.
Suppose you do not have a computer, tablet or smartphone. In that case, you may participate by teleconference by calling the toll-free number provided in the email containing the link to the hearing. When prompted, you must enter the conference ID number to gain access to the hearing.
NOTE: You should also have a phone to use as a backup means of communication if you experience technical difficulties.
2. What training is available for Microsoft Teams for lawyers and litigants?
3. How can I test my equipment before the hearing?
You may, upon request, schedule a time to test your equipment before your hearing.
If you wish to schedule a test, you MUST do so at least 24 hours in advance of the hearing date
Contact the Winnipeg office by emailing email@example.com . Select your preferred time to run a test.
Contact the Regional offices by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
Testing is done between the hours of
4. I didn’t get a Meeting invitation
Please check the junk mail/spam folder in your email account. If it is not there, please contact your lawyer or if you are a self-represented litigant, please contact the court directly in Winnipeg email@example.com; or for regional offices firstname.lastname@example.org
5. I have a witness I wish to call to give evidence.
A witness is a person who testifies under oath at a hearing and can only give evidence regarding information of which he or she has personal knowledge. Witnesses are not permitted to watch or participate in the hearing until it is their turn to testify.
NOTE: Your witness(es) cannot be in the same room with you during the hearing, or they will be prohibited from testifying. It may also result in a mistrial.
If you intend to call any witnesses, you must forward the Teams meeting invitation to them, and they must remain available at a phone number where you can reach them until it is time for them to testify. When it is time for them to testify, you must phone or email them and ask them to log into or call into the hearing. Internet access and a computer, tablet or smartphone with mic and camera capabilities enabled. Witnesses should not log into the hearing until they receive direction to do so. If you do not have a smartphone, laptop or computer, the Court will request that the witness call into the teleconference number provided in the invitation.
6. What is an oath or affirmation?
Any person who will testify at the hearing must do so under oath or affirmation. The court will ask the person giving evidence the following questions:
NOTE: If a witness wishes to be sworn using a bible or in the presence of an eagle feather, they must have the item with them in the location they are testifying from; otherwise, they will be affirmed.
7. What are the guidelines for etiquette and conduct during a video Teams conference or hearing?
General Rules/Best Practices Guide:
COMPUTER - right click the participant and select Pin. If you change your mind, right click again and select Unpin.
SMARTPHONE/TABLET – tap and hold the participant and select Pin. If you change your mind, tap and hold and select Unpin.
The video will be pinned to your view regardless of who’s talking. You can pin as many video participants as will fit on your screen.
Note - Recording the court proceeding on a personal device is strictly prohibited.
8. How can you obtain a transcript of Teams proceeding?
If a hearing is recorded, transcripts are available on the same basis as in-person proceedings, as per Transcript Information.