Telephonic Hearing Law and Legal Definition

Telephonic appearances and hearings are permitted by courts, particularly when counsels are located in different cities. Telephonic hearings are granted at the discretion of the assigned judge and therefore it is privilege rather than a right. Requests to appear telephonically should be in writing and should be filed in the Court within the time specified. Prior approval of the court is necessary for telephonic appearances. Once approved the court room deputy will give instructions as to the procedure that is to be followed. Parties should identify themselves each time they speak so that the Judge and the recorder know who is addressing the court. Usually evidentiary hearings are not allowed by phone.

In Florida, the use of telephonic hearings and conferences are encouraged, whenever possible, particularly when counsels are located in different cities. All requests for telephonic appearance should comply with Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.530 which says about communication equipments. A copy of the motion for telephonic appearance should be provided to the opposing counsel. The motion should set forth that the counsel should contact the court within ten days on its position on the motion or the court will rule on the motion without hearing. A copy of the motion should also be provided to the court through regular mail with a proposed order and appropriate number of copies for conforming and envelopes for mailing. Generally ex-parte motions for telephonic appearances are not considered.

Fla. R. Jud. Admin. 2.530. Communication Equipment

(a) Definition. --Communication equipment means a conference telephone or other electronic device that permits all those appearing or participating to hear and speak to each other, provided that all conversation of all parties is audible to all persons present.

(b) Use by all Parties. --A county or circuit court judge may, upon the court's own motion or upon the written request of a party, direct that communication equipment be used for a motion hearing, pretrial conference, or a status conference. A judge must give notice to the parties and consider any objections they may have to the use of communication equipment before directing that communication equipment be used. The decision to use communication equipment over the objection of parties will be in the sound discretion of the trial court, except as noted below.

(c) Use Only by Requesting Party. --A county or circuit court judge may, upon the written request of a party upon reasonable notice to all other parties, permit a requesting party to participate through communication equipment in a scheduled motion hearing; however, any such request (except in criminal, juvenile, and appellate proceedings) must be granted, absent a showing of good cause to deny the same, where the hearing is set for not longer than 15 minutes.

(d) Testimony.

(1) Generally. --A county or circuit court judge may, if all the parties consent, allow testimony to be taken through communication equipment.

(2) Procedure. --Any party desiring to present testimony through communication equipment shall, prior to the hearing or trial at which the testimony is to be presented, contact all parties to determine whether each party consents to this form of testimony. The party seeking to present the testimony shall move for permission to present testimony through communication equipment, which motion shall set forth good cause as to why the testimony should be allowed in this form.

(3) Oath. --Testimony may be taken through communication equipment only if a notary public or other person authorized to administer oaths in the witness's jurisdiction is present with the witness and administers the oath consistent with the laws of the jurisdiction.

(4) Confrontation Rights. --In juvenile and criminal proceedings the defendant must make an informed waiver of any confrontation rights that may be abridged by the use of communication equipment.

(5) Video Testimony. --If the testimony to be presented utilizes video conferencing or comparable two-way visual capabilities, the court in its discretion may modify the procedures set forth in this rule to accommodate the technology utilized.

(e) Burden of Expense. --The cost for the use of the communication equipment is the responsibility of the requesting party unless otherwise directed by the court.

(f) Override of Family Violence Indicator. --Communications equipment may be used for a hearing on a petition to override a family violence indicator under Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.650.