HMCTS Video Hearings service: guidance for joining a hearing

Guidance about how the HMCTS Video Hearings service works and how to take part.

About the service

We use the Video Hearing service to conduct video hearings in courts and tribunals.

We are currently using other video services, including Cloud Video Platform (CVP). If your hearing is on CVP or another platform, please see our guidance on what to expect when joining a telephone or video hearing.

The court or tribunal will tell all parties involved what platform is being used in their case. We will only ever use one platform for any video hearings held throughout your case.

Deciding if a video hearing is suitable

A video hearing will not take place unless the judge is satisfied that it’s in the interests of justice for all parties involved.

Before a video hearing takes place, a judge will consider:

  • the details of the case
  • the nature and complexity of the hearing
  • any information given that might affect the hearing taking place by video

Prepare for a video hearing

To take part in a video hearing you need:

  • a quiet, private room with internet access
  • a laptop, desktop computer, tablet or smartphone with a camera and microphone

Find out how to take part in a hearing using the Video Hearings service. This includes guidance on:

  • checking your equipment and internet browser
  • preparing for and attending your hearing
  • sharing evidence with other participants

Before the hearing

We’ll send you information by email about the video hearing, with a website link and sign in details. Check your junk folder for these emails, to make sure you have all the information you need on the day.

If you’ve chosen to attend by mobile phone, you may also receive text messages with joining instructions.

You must sign in and test the device you’ll use for the hearing. It is very important to complete this test. If you’re using a computer that is part of a network, security restrictions may block you from accessing the video hearings service.

On the day of the hearing

Sign in 30 minutes before the hearing start time using the details you will be sent. Re-check your device and internet connection by repeating the self-test, then confirm your equipment is working.

Once you’ve signed in, you may use the service to have a private meeting with another party before the hearing (if you wish). This is confidential and not recorded as part of the hearing.

Any participant can start a private meeting before the hearing. You can accept or decline a request from someone else. You may also have a private meeting with another party during the hearing with the permission of the judge. They will pause the hearing while the meeting is taking place. This is also available as an option for 30 minutes after the hearing has ended.

Before the hearing starts, everyone waits in an online waiting room. No one can be seen or heard while in the waiting room.

There is an onscreen countdown before the judge starts the hearing. Everyone joins at the same time.

Recording and transcript

The process for recording the sound from a video hearing is the same as for hearings held in a court building. Where hearings are recorded, you can apply for a transcript.

You must not record or take any images of the hearing.

Contact the Video Hearings service team

Contact us if:

  • you have not been able to complete a self-test successfully
  • your organisation needs to test any changes it has made to its network/firewall settings
  • you need further guidance in taking part in a video hearing

You should not contact us about the case. You should contact the court or tribunal directly or speak to your legal representative, if you have one.

England and Wales

Telephone: 0300 303 0655

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (except public holidays)



Telephone: 0300 790 6234

Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm (except public holidays)


Published 20 October 2020
Last updated 4 November 2022 + show all updates
  1. Added translation

  2. Instructions added to clarify how you'll receive instructions before a hearing.

  3. Moved technical support and user guidance to new user guide

  4. Added a link to video guidance.

  5. Added wording under Before the hearing and On the day of the hearing to highlight the need for users to test their equipment before the hearing starts.

  6. Updated Welsh edition.

  7. Added Welsh translation

  8. Small change to the on the day guidance to update the sign in times and details.

  9. First published.