Remote Advocacy

A contempoary advocate must be comfortable not only in a physical, but also in a virtual courtroom. In some proceedings, such as international arbitration, remote advocacy has been an established practice for years; in others it has gained prominence during the Covid-19 pandemic. Courts and tribunals, including international(ised) ones, now routinely resort to conducting proceedings online, with advocates appearing from their homes or offices. Where online advocacy was an exception, it is now the norm. It requires the advocate to adapt to a new working environment.

 

Remote advocacy is challenging. It is widely considered to have less of an impact. Being clear and conscise is imperative. Witness examinations and cross-examinations may be particularly challenging in an online setting with the examining counsel, judges and the witness appearing from different locations. Non-verbal communication is hampered. The use of visual aids and large amounts of documents may lead to new challenges. Luckily, abiding by some key principles and techniques for making submissions and examining witnesses online can help an advocate maximum their potential remotely, just the same as in person.