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Guidelines for telephone hearings in district registries and
county courts

Telephone hearings in civil hearings were introduced in 1999 as part of the Civil Justice Reforms following Lord Woolf's Review of the civil justice system in England and Wales. More recently the availability of telephone hearings has been expanded to cover a wider variety of hearings. To reflect this, the Practice Direction covering telephone hearings has been revised. This is a brief guide on the scheme as it applies in county courts and district registries.


The procedures for telephone hearings can be found under Practice Direction (PD) 23 of the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR). This Practice Direction supplements Part 23 of the CPR.

All hearings listed as suitable in the practice direction will normally be held by telephone (PD 6.2)

Procedures under the scheme

Hearings to be conducted by telephone unless otherwise ordered.

Hearings excluded.

Applications in respect of hearings not to be conducted by telephone conference

Parties may make applications under the practice direction for a hearing not to be conducted by telephone. If they do:

Such applications will be determined by the court without the need of the parties to attend court for a hearing. The usual application fee will apply.

Arrangements for the conference call

In the case of interim applications the responsibility for the conference call shall be the applicant’s (providing the applicant is represented

In all other cases responsibility for the conference call shall normally be with the claimant’s representatives. If the claimant is unrepresented the first named defendant who is represented shall be responsible for all arrangements. The court may on occasions direct another party to be responsible for making arrangements if it sees fit to do so.

All other arrangements shall be in accordance with those set out in paragraphs 6.9 and 6.10 of the Practice Direction. (References to the designated legal representative should be read as the applicant’s legal representative (if any), or the legal representative of such other party as the court directs to arrange the telephone hearing).

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The party arranging the conference call must also lodge at the court a case summary and a draft order if the claim is allocated to the multi-track. The same applies in an unallocated case, where the arranging party considers that it should be so allocated and in any other case where the court has so directed.

If any party seeks to rely on any other document, such as expert reports, cost schedules, skeleton arguments or alternative draft orders, then they must be lodged with the court.

All draft orders should be agreed by the parties in whole or part if at all possible.

Any documents required for the hearing or to be relied upon by a party must be lodged with the court by no later than 4.00 p.m. on the last working day before the hearing. All documents must clearly indic ate the time and date of the hearing and marked ‘for urgent attention’.

Listing and timing

In lists where all or a significant number of the hearings are by way of telephone, it will be critical for them to run on time. In order to facilitate the scheme running smoothly, parties must use their best efforts to: -

There may be occasions when the court is not ready for a conference call. In these situations the court will endeavour to provide the parties with an estimate of the delay or an alternative time when the call should be re-connected.

Conference service providers

The telecommunications service provider used to facilitate a telephone hearing under Practice Direction 23 must be an approved service provider as indicated at 6.10 (1) of the Practice Direction. From 1st April 2007 the two approved providers will be

Recording of hearings

From April 2007, all telephone hearings will be recorded and stored by the approved service providers.

A request for a transcript of a telephone hearing should be made to the court where the hearing has taken place. Form EX107 (tape transcription request) must be used in all instances. Please see EX107 Info for more information which provides help on completing the EX107 and a full list of court approved transcription companies and prices.

Complaints about service providers

The service providers on the approved list are subject to a contract with the Department. Under the terms of that contract, providers are obliged to have a robust complaints procedure in place.

Customer Service Unit,
5TH floor, Clive House
70 Petty France,
London SW1H 9EX

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This page was last updated on 8 June, 2007 . Web team.
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