Litigating Virtually During the National Lockdown – How Advocates, attorneys and presiding officers are doing their work
The face of litigation drastically changed during the National Lockdown. In order to limit the spread of Covid-19, the legal profession and judiciary had to implement new processes. Of these, are virtual legal proceedings making use of video conferencing.
The picture in this post depicts an actual hearing of an Urgent Application at the Western Cape High Court yesterday. The Presiding Judge was in his chambers in the High Court, and both parties’ advocates were litigating from their chambers. After the ruling was made, the Urgent Order was emailed to the Judge’s registrar. This shows how the wheels of justice can still move, making use of technology.
The pictures on the screen are that of the Presiding Judge and opposing counsel. The photos were taken in Advocate Muhammad Abduroaf’s chambers in Cape Town during the virtual court hearing. Next to Advocate Abduroaf, is his instructing attorney, Ms Nicole Lawrence.
You would note that Adv Abduroaf is not wearing a robe. That requirement is only applicable in open court. Certain courts are still hearing matters in open court. However, Covid-19 regulations are in place. This included wearing face masks, sanitisation of hands, and body temperature checking.