The year 2020 and its health-related challenges has changed many aspects of daily life over the last year, including putting travel plans on hold and having to reschedule events. People in Texas with legal concerns may have questions about how virtual court settings may impact them.
The Supreme Court of Texas recently issued its 36th emergency order related to the health crisis. It encourages courts to continue to use reasonable efforts to conduct proceedings virtually. Parties, attorneys, jurors and staff can participate remotely by using teleconferencing or videoconferencing.
The Texas judicial branch also offers helpful tips for virtual participants. These include wearing solid colors that are easily seen on camera, using a solid neutral background when possible and checking the lighting in the room before joining the videoconference.
It’s also helpful to remember to position the camera at eye level and to look directly at the webcam when speaking instead of the screen. Also, participants should speak one at a time and mute themselves when they are not speaking. Background noise can otherwise be especially distracting during virtual proceedings.
Also, when participants receive an email invitation for the hearing, it should not be shared with others.
For those who are unfamiliar with videoconferencing, it can be helpful to conduct a test meeting as well.
In person settings
For any proceeding that it is in person, the participants are required to notify the court of their own or any other participant’s coronavirus symptoms. These include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, headache and sore throat. Minimum standard public health protocols must be also be in place.
An experienced attorney is available to keep cases on track.