Appearing in Court by Phone (Script 433)
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A party must usually appear in court in person
If you are a party in a court proceeding (for example, a plaintiff or defendant), and you must attend your court dates, either physically or via phone. Attending court is known as “appearing”. While telephone appearances are discouraged, the court has the discretion in some circumstances to allow them, so long as you do not have to “testify”. To testify is to give sworn evidence before the court.
You need court approval to appear by phone
To make an appearance by telephone, you must get prior approval from the court. To do so, ask the registry of the court where you must appear whether it will be possible. Be sure to do so at least one week before your court date, if possible. If this is not possible, try to ask the court registry at least 3 days before your court date. If a telephone appearance is possible, the court registry will explain what you need to do.
In Small Claims Court, an appearance by telephone may be allowed if the party requesting the telephone appearance doesn’t live or carry on business within a reasonable distance from the court location where the hearing is to take place, or if there are exceptional circumstances. An application using Small Claims Court Form 16 must be made in advance. If the registrar allows the party to appear by telephone, all documents relating to the hearing usually must be sent to the court and to the other parties before the hearing.
In Supreme Court, an application to appear by telephone must be made by requisition using Supreme Court Form 17, supported by a signed letter setting out the reasons why you want an order allowing you to appear by telephone.
Proceedings in Supreme Court are often a more complex and procedural than those in Small Claims Court and the assistance of a lawyer is recommended.
[updated May 2015]
The above was last reviewed for accuracy by Jack Montepllier.
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