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Updated Florida Bar guide to remote court proceedings posted

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Best Practices for Remote Court ProceedingsFlorida lawyers now have access to the latest version of a popular resource — a Florida Bar guide to remote court proceedings.

The Board of Governors at a July 29 meeting in Palm Beach signed off on updates to The Florida Bar Recommended Best Practices for Remote Court Proceedings.

The guide was developed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic by the Board Technology Committee, with input from judicial conferences, Bar sections, committees, and other stakeholders.

The Technology Committee just updated the guide as part of a “busy and fast start” to the new Bar year, Chair Gordon Glover told the board.

The recommendations are non-binding and not meant to supersede Florida Statutes, court procedural rules, or judicial instructions, but they are comprehensive and have generated a lot of positive feedback, according to immediate past President Michael Tanner.

The guide is divided into five sections:

• Remote Procedures Applicable to all Proceedings.

• Remote Procedures Applicable to Non-evidentiary Hearings.

• Remote Procedures Applicable to Evidentiary Hearings.

• Remote Deposition Procedures. Remote Mediations.

Numbered and subdivided for ease of use, the 12-page guide deals with a wide variety of issues.

For example, Recommendation 1.1 of Remote Procedures Applicable to all Proceedings states, “Participants must dress and otherwise present professionally, as if they are physically appearing in a courtroom, deposition, or mediation.”

Rule 5.4 of Remote Mediation Procedures advises, “No one, regardless of location, shall record any portion of the mediation or download or save any contents of any chat function of the conferencing platform.”

And Rule 4.4 of Remote Deposition Procedures states, “The deponent shall not use any virtual background at any time during the deposition.”

Former Technology Committee Chair Jay Kim promised the Board of Governors a year ago that the best practices guide would be updated periodically and go a long way toward helping the profession deal with the pandemic.

“As everyone knows, this is front and center of the current crisis,” he said. “We are having a lot of feedback from our constituents about the lack of uniformity in remote proceedings….”

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