HCCH: Draft Guide to good practice on the use of video-conferencing under the Evidence Convention

The Permanent Bureau of the Hague Conference on Private International Law in consultation with the Experts’ Group of the on the Use of Video-link and Other Modern Technologies in the Taking of Evidence has published a Draft Guide ( No 8 of December 2018) to be aproved that analyses developments in relation to the use of video-link – “videoconferencing”, “remote appearance” or “video presence”- in the taking of evidence under the Evidence Convention. 

‘Video-link’ refers to the technology which allows two or more locations to interact simultaneously by video and audio transmission, facilitating communication and personal interaction.

The Draft sets rules permissions from the State of execution, notifications, attendance, presence, participation of the parties, their representatives, and / or members of the judicial personnel, coercive measures and compulsion, oaths, identification of witness / expert and other actors, costs, potential practical obstacles, technical support and training, appropriate facilities, private communications, use of interpretation, recording, reporting and review, environment, positioning and protocols, control of cameras and audio, protocols for speaking and in case of breakdown of communications, technical and security aspects (adequacy of equipment, use of licensed software, minimum technical standard and encryption).

The Draft also includes references to internal law and other international agreements. It also outlines good practices to be followed and reflects additional information provided by Contracting Parties in their respective Country.

The presence and active participation of the parties, their representatives, and judicial personnel by video-link should follow the same rules as if the evidence were taken in person in the State of Origin. Judicial personnel of the court of origin may be appointed as a Commissioner to examine a person located in another Contracting Party by video-link and may conduct the hearing in accordance with the domestic law of the State of Origin.

See full text here: https://assets.hcch.net/docs/e0bee1ac-7aab-4277-ad03-343a7a23b4d7.pdf

See, in the European Union, the Council recommendations – best practices on cross-border videoconferencing in the area of justice https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=LEGISSUM:2303_5&from=EN

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