The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has triggered Croatian courts to start the practice of holding remote hearings in civil law proceedings, using audio visual devices.
The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and the measures adopted to supress it have significantly affected the work of courts and holding of classical court hearings.
Considering that many measures adopted to supress the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) had a restrictive effect on the possibility of movement and physical gathering of persons in one place, as well as on holding classical court hearings in the court building with physical presence of all participants, Croatian courts started to practice remote hearings pursuant to the provisions of the Croatian Civil Procedure Act.
For the purpose of attending remote hearings, it is necessary to ensure the following prerequisites:
- computer access,
- Internet access,
- camera and microphone.
The remote hearing is usually conducted by using one of the digital platforms, such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Jitsi Meet, Skype, etc.
According to our professional experience in representing clients at remote hearings, this way of holding hearings has two basic advantages over the classic method of holding court hearings:
- the possibility of gaining access to the hearing regardless of the location where the person is located;
- savings on travel costs and thus slightly lower attorneys’ costs.
On the other hand, this way of holding hearings raises certain issues, such as examination of a witness and possible undue influence on his/her testimony, which will certainly be subject of expert discussions in the future.