Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Comments on Remote Rule Changes Due 9/30

The Supreme Court of Florida is extending a public comment period for a rules petition submitted by its COVID-19 Workgroup that is designed to promote greater use of tech due to courts, counsel and parties having experienced great efficiency during the pandemic. Changes to Florida Rule of General Practice and Judicial Administration 2.530, Communications Technology, also impact six other rule sets — Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure, Probate Rules, Traffic Court, Small Claims, and Appellate Procedure. The amendments focus on ways to permit virtual proceedings under many circumstances, including mediation. The so-called Workgroup on the Continuity of Court Operations and Proceedings During and After COVID-19 found Court and Bar leaders embraced remote technology to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. After months of deliberation, the members determined that permanent, broader authorization for the remote conduct of court proceedings after the pandemic was warranted based on the positive outcomes and efficiencies being observed during the pandemic. The Workgroup noted significant cost and time savings for litigants, lawyers and other stakeholders, while recognizing that remote proceedings are not appropriate in all circumstances. The proposed amendments to Rule 2.530 still require a court official to consider any objections to the use of remote technology and to ultimately approve all use of communication technology. Chief Judge Munyon of Orlando who chairs the effort said remote mediations are here to stay, along with remote hearings and depositions. “Whether a particular hearing is so complex that it needs to be in person, or the evidence is such that it needs to be in person, will be treated on a case-by-case basis,” she said as reported by The Florida Bar News. This morning, the Executive Council of ADR Section of The Florida Bar contemplated filing a comment in support of the continued use of remote mediation attendance which has proved quite effective in the past eighteen months. See more here-- and