www.manitobacourts.mb.ca

Virtual Courts

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. 

  • Please check the Manitoba Courts webpage for the most up-to-date information. All announcements and updates related to changes to the operation of Manitoba Courts can be found here, including details on matters being dealt with remotely: COVID-19 - Manitoba Courts

             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.

 Hardware requirements for Microsoft Teams - Microsoft Teams | Microsoft Docs

 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?

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.

Winnipeg

Regional Office

Contact the Winnipeg office by emailing courtclerks@gov.mb.ca . Select your preferred time to run a test.

  • 8:30-9:30 A.M.
  • 12:30-1:30 P.M.
  • 3:30-4:30 P.M.

Contact the Regional offices by emailing regionalvirtualcourts@gov.mb.ca .

Testing is done between the hours of

 

  • 8:30-9:30A.M.

  • Provide contact information (email addresses/telephone numbers) of all parties required to participate in the test.
  • We recommend that you test the technology before your hearing from the location you plan to use during the hearing to check your internet connection at that location.
  • Last-minute and multiple requests for the same hearing may not be able to be accommodated.

            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 courtclerks@gov.mb.ca; or for regional offices regionalvirtualcourts@gov.mb.ca

            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:

  • If they wish to testify by swearing an oath on a bible
  • If they wish to be affirmed by giving an affirmation (promise) to tell the truth, or
  • If they wish to testify in the presence of an eagle feather.

 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:

  • Log in to the hearing link that was emailed to you 20 (twenty) minutes before the hearing starts to allow time for setup/troubleshooting.
  • Before court commences you will be asked to identify yourself and who you represent, if applicable, and how you prefer to be addressed. The court clerk will note all of the parties and lawyers attending the hearing on the court record.
  • You will be instructed when court is to begin and, when court is on the record.
  • During the hearing, find a quiet location that has good lighting and little background noise. Sit an arm’s length away from your webcam and directly in front of a microphone.
  • Say your name anytime you start speaking. Parties should be cautioned that they must speak one at a time, should give a clear pause in speech between speakers, and should not rustle papers or any objects near the microphone on their device.
  • When not speaking, the participant’s microphone is to be muted.
  • If counsel/clients need to have a private conversation, they can request a break, mute their microphones, turn off their cameras and speak privately by telephone.
  • Should the Court need to take a recess (provide everyone with a break during the proceeding), the videoconference will stay on. You are responsible for turning off your microphone and webcam. Do not leave the videoconference. If you do not turn off your microphone and webcam, other participants in the videoconference will be able to see and/or hear you.
  • Counsel/court participants should dress as if attending an in-person proceeding in a courtroom.
  • As per,   CA- Court Attire  QB – Court Attire; PC – Court Attire  
  • Ensure your device is fully charged before the hearing. Have the charger nearby. Videoconferencing can drain the battery of devices quickly.
  • If the video/audio connection is poor – you may participate by calling the teleconference number contained in the invitation.

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.

 

 

 

Information on this page last updated on March 1, 2021