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BT Legal Hearings

Our easy-to-use audio conferencing service to conduct telephone hearings.

Need help booking online? Watch our short video guide.

BT Legal Hearings is our easy-to-use audio conferencing service to help conduct telephone hearings.

This service has been developed to help you conform with the audio conferencing requirements of the Access to Justice Act of 1999, which now stipulates that audio conferencing MUST be used for certain types of legal case hearings.

BT Legal Hearings brings legal parties together by dialling-out to each party to meet with a Judge, in order to exchange/present information without having to be in the same court location.

It's simple to book your telephone hearing online via My Meeting Manager, use this free online portal as a convenient way to book, view, amend or cancel your bookings, alternatively you can book by telephone.

We advise that if you are a Litigant in Person and wish to arrange a telephone hearing then you must have an existing account or set up a new account to use this service. If you are participating in a telephone hearing that is arranged by you or by another party then please familiarise yourself with the telephone hearing procedure so that the hearing can run smoothly.

  • The law on audio conferencing

Her Majesty's Court Service approved supplier

BT Conferencing has been selected by the Her Majesty's Court Services (HMCS) as an approved supplier for the legal community to facilitate the arrangement of telephone hearings which can also help you eliminate the hassle and costs associated with travelling to a court hearing.

In April 2007, Practice Direction 23, which supplements Part 23 of the Civil Procedure Rules was updated to widen the use of telephone hearings. Telephone hearings are now expected to be the norm for the majority of the types of hearings lists below in the county court:

  • Allocation and listing hearings
  • Interim applications, case management conferences and pre-trial reviews with a time estimate of no more than one hour
  • Any other application with prior consent of the court or at the request of the parties

Telephone Hearing Exclusions

Telephone hearings are excluded where:

  • All of the parties are unrepresented.
  • The hearing is of an application without notice to the other party.
  • More than four parties wish to make representations at the hearing (for this purpose where two or more parties are represented by the same person they are treated as one party).
  • The hearing could result in the final determination of the whole or part of the proceedings.

Telephone hearing exceptions:

  • It must be made at least 7 days before the hearing or such shorter time as the court may permit.
  • It may be made by letter.

Such applications will be determined by the court without the need of the parties to attend court for a hearing.

The usual application fee will apply.

HMCS Telephone hearing scheme

What is the HMCS telephone hearing scheme?

The telephone hearing scheme is a nation-wide rollout encompassing all HRMC (Her Majesty's Courts Service) county courts and law firms in England and Wales to convert face-to-face court hearings into telephone based hearings.

The HRMC telephone hearing scheme has been introduced as a result of the change in law, allowing for certain court hearings to take place as a telephone hearing.

Why the change in law?

Previously the legal community were only allowed to use the format of 'telephone hearings' if the legal parties applied to the courts for approval first.

The Department of Constitutional Affairs (DCA) had run a consultation and pilot programme to investigate if it would be beneficial to the legal community for telephone hearings to be used more widely for certain types of court hearings, removing the need to apply to use audio conferencing to conduct a court hearing.

The results from the research conducted highlighted that by increasing the use of telephone hearings court users benefited by

  • removing the need for time spent waiting at court for hearings.
  • reduction in travel through the reduced need to attend court in person.
  • courts benefiting from a more efficient use of both judicial and accommodation resources.

The research also showed that audio conferencing has been universally welcomed by law firms for court hearings, meetings and presentations which resulted in a change to The Access to Justice Act.

Therefore from 1st April 2006, the Access to Justice Act 1999 was updated and now stipulates that audio conferencing (also referred to as telephone hearings) MUST be used for certain types of legal case hearings, instead of a face-to-face meeting at court.

Further information

Links to further information about the new telephone hearing guidelines:

  • How does BT Legal Hearings work?

  • Benefits

By using audio conferencing to conduct telephone based hearings you and your firm will:

  • Be compliant with the law - Comply with requirements of the Access for Justice Act of 1999 and be prepared for audio court hearings.
  • Benefit from travel and time savings - No travelling to or waiting around in court, convert waiting and travel time into billable working hours and save money on travel expenses.
  • Enhance your client services - Improve relationships by providing a faster and more effective service and flexible meeting arrangements to suit your client's needs.
  • Speed up the litigation process - Arrange hearings securely and at short notice, gaining access to information when you need it.
  • Be able to create billing efficiencies - By being able to view your conferencing bill online, you will be able to more easily cross-reference telephone hearing charges back to your clients.
  • Have improved access to justice - As it will allow court access for people unable to attend in person without the need to travel, which will also result in a more efficient use of courtrooms as cases will be heard more quickly.
  • Value for money - BT Conferencing has been selected by the HMCS to be a conferencing supplier to the legal community based on being able to provide value for money as part of the selection process.
  • Security and peace of mind - BT Conferencing has over 20 years of experience in global conferencing. We have successfully managed Telephone Hearing since the Act was instigated.

  • How to book a telephone hearing?

BT Legal Hearings is designed to help you make the most of your busy schedules by offering you the options to either book a telephone hearing call online or by phone.

2 easy ways to book

You have two options to choose from, on how you wish to book your BT Legal Hearings call

  • Online
  • By phone - 0800 028 4194

Note: We advise that if you are a Litigant in Person and wish to arrange a telephone hearing then you must have an existing account or set up a new account to use this service. If you are participating in a telephone hearing that is arranged by you or by another party then please familiarise yourself with the telephone hearing procedure so that the hearing can run smoothly.

How to book a telephone hearing online

For the simplest and quickest way to arrange a telephone hearing, book online.

Step 1. Have the following information available:

  • Your 'My Meeting Manager' user name and password
  • Date, time and approximate duration of the telephone hearing
  • Names and telephone numbers of the case participants, including the Judge
  • The name and address of the court, the Case Name, Court Reference Number and your Internal Reference number

If you do not have a conferencing legal account, register for a new account today.

If you already have a conferencing legal account but do not remember your account details call 0800 028 4194.

Step 2. Login to My Meeting Manager.

Login to My Meeting Manager

Step 3. Enter your user name and password and Sign in

User Name and Password

Step 4. Click on Book an Event.

Clicking on book an event

Step 5. Book a BT Legal Hearing.

Clicking on BT Legal Hearing

Step 6. Enter details for your Legal Hearing, read and accept the Terms and Conditions and then click next.

Legal Hearing details

Step 7. Enter participant details for the Legal Hearing.

Participant details

Step 8. Review the details you entered for the Legal Hearing and click submit.

Review information and submit

Step 9. Save your Telephone Hearing details (you can also request an email to be sent to you).

Saving hearing details

Step 10. Return to My Meetings. There, you can view your Legal Hearing call details.

My Meetings (find events)

How to book a telephone hearing by phone

Step 1. Call BT Legal Hearings Customer Services on 0800 028 4194 with the following information:

  • quote your name and account number
  • tell the co-ordinator the date, time and approximate duration of the hearing
  • provide the names and telephone numbers of the case participants, including the Judge
  • provide the name and address of the court, the Case Name, Court Reference Number and your Internal Reference number

Step 2. That's it - you will then be sent an email confirmation for your booking