Remote Hearing Information
Preparing for the Hearing
- Several days before the hearing, download the Zoom app on your computer or mobile device.
- If you need to submit exhibits, please submit them 5 court days in advance to ensure they get processed and routed to the proper courtroom. You can e-mail them to:
- If your case is continued to a different hearing date, you will need to resubmit your exhibits 5 court days prior to the new hearing date.
- For Civil Division L, exhibits may be submitted by e-mail three (3) court days in advance of each hearing (including when continued). Exhibits must be marked (including the case number for hearing), may not exceed 15 pages and can be sent to: DivisionLExhibits@kern.courts.ca.gov
Zoom Desktop for your computer
Highly recommended: You can also join a test meeting to familiarize yourself with Zoom.
Joining the Hearing
From your device or computer, visit Remote Court Hearings and select the courtroom you are to appear in. Click on the Zoom link assigned to the courtroom that will hear your case.
- Join the hearing from a room with no or minimal background noise.
- Join the hearing 30 minutes prior to the start time indicated in your hearing notice so the clerk can you check you in.
Tips for participants who join the Zoom meeting (video conferencing)
Click on the Zoom link assigned to the department that will hear your case. Refer to the instructions on setting up Zoom on your device or computer if you have not done so.
- Zoom will launch, (you may have to click the Launch Meeting button if it does not start automatically) and show the Enter your name screen. Fill in the Your Name field with 'First Name Last Name - Party description – Case Number' (for example: 'Jane Doe – Petitioner - CaseNumber' or 'John Doe - Attorney for Petitioner - CaseNumber'). Click Join Meeting and ensure you have muted your mic before joining.
- All participants will wait separately in a lobby. You will see a screen indicating Please be patient, the Court will let you in when ready for you or something similar. The court clerk will admit each participant into the hearing when ready to do so. Please wait patiently and do not exit the lobby if you are not immediately admitted. If you have joined the meeting early, or if the Court is delayed, the lobby may time out. If this occurs, please re-join the meeting.
- After the clerk admits you into the meeting, you will hear and see the courtroom and other participants. The clerk may ask you to confirm your name. Please unmute your mic and enable your camera.
Tips for participants who join the meeting by phone (teleconferencing)
- Alternatively, participants can join the hearing by telephone, by dialing the conference number assigned to the department conducting the hearing, enter the conference ID followed by #, press # to skip participant ID, enter the passcode and press #. Press * 6 to mute or unmute your phone or if your phone has a mute button you may use that instead. The Court can also mute participants who have joined the hearing by telephone.
- Participants should not place the Court on hold, or put the phone on speakerphone, as this will decrease audio quality. If a participant is experiencing poor video quality during a hearing or cannot maintain a connection through the desktop app or web version, they can join via the teleconferencing option.
- Please refer to the safety tip section below before calling into the hearing.
Important: Please be advised that the Zoom links may change. Visit the Remote Court Hearings page on the date of your hearing to ensure that you are using the most current conference link or telephone conference ID number.
Procedures During the Hearing
- At the beginning of a calendar being called, the Judge will set forth guidelines for the proceedings. Listen closely for further direction.
- Hearings may be called out of numerical order, so be sure to pay attention as the calendar is being called. You’ll need to answer "present" at the appropriate time.
- All participants shall place their microphones on mute unless they are speaking or wish to make an objection.
- All efforts shall be undertaken not to interrupt other speakers during the hearing, unless it is necessary to assert an objection. Please keep in mind a court reporter is transcribing the proceeding so speak clearly and slowly. Please do not interrupt when another party or the judge is speaking.
- If an interpreter is necessary, all participants shall speak slowly, in short complete sentences or questions, and allow time for translation. No one shall respond to a question posed by another participant until the question has been translated.
- Participants SHALL NOT record the video conference. ADVISORY: Users of the Court's Zoom video conferencing are reminded of the general prohibition against the photographing, recording and rebroadcasting of court proceedings (including those held by telephone or videoconferencing). See California Rule of Court 1.150 and this Court's Standing Order No. 19-0005. Any recording of a court proceeding is absolutely prohibited without a court order. Violation of this order of the Court is punishable as contempt pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure § 1209. All participants are required to ensure that no minor children are able to hear or see the videoconference hearings.
- All participants are required to identify anyone who may be observing the proceedings with them. This is essential to ensure the credibility of testimony.
Guidelines for Participants
- For the purpose of this guidance, a participant includes a party, an attorney or a witness.
- This information is provided as guidance. The conduct of the hearing remains a matter for the presiding judicial officer. Participants should follow any direction given by the judicial officer.
- The behavior, manner and presentation of a participant should be the same as if they were attending the Court hearing in person. This includes addressing the Judge correctly as “Your Honor” and addressing Counsel politely and courteously.
- The participant is to ensure that there will be no interruptions or distractions for the duration of their appearance at the hearing.
- If participants are unable to give uninterrupted evidence, they should advise the clerk or their attorney as soon as practical.
- A participant should have a copy of all pleadings and documents necessary for the hearing.
- A participant that plans to examine a witness must ensure the witness has a copy of documents to which they may be referred.
- Participants are not permitted to use or access their phones during the hearing except to communicate with their attorney of record as permitted by the judge.
- If an objection is made all participants must stop speaking and wait for the Court’s ruling on the objection. An attorney or self-represented party can ask to be heard on the objection after it is made. The Court may also request a response to an objection.
- Where an objection is made and discussions are required in the absence of the witness, the witness may be asked to mute their computer or otherwise be virtually ejected from the meeting space and invited to re-join when the objection has been dealt with.
- The Court will hold all hearings to a strict time estimate. It is best not to repeat arguments in the written pleadings as the Court has read and reviewed those documents.
- Once the Court has heard from all litigants the matter will be submitted for decision. Once submitted the Court will make a ruling and no further argument shall be considered.
Safety in Virtual Hearings
Litigants should be mindful of their personal safety when participating in virtual hearings, including by considering the following:
- If joining the hearing using video, consider turning on background blur, or sitting in front of a neutral background such as a blank wall, blind or door.
- If there are safety concerns about appearing with video turned on, the Judge may permit litigants to participate in the hearing using only audio.
- If joining a Zoom hearing by telephone, participants may switch caller ID off before dialing the conference number. If caller ID is on, participants should be aware that their phone number will be displayed in the Zoom meeting to others participating using the desktop app, web browser version or smartphone app (but will not be visible to other participants also dialing in on the telephone). Switching caller ID off means that only a random 9-digit number will be shown.
- Be sure to set aside time to participate in the hearing distraction-free and without children present.
- Use a headset, or headphones that have a microphone (such as most headphones that come with smartphones), to avoid echo and increase audio quality. Ensure you select the headphones in the settings for ‘Devices’ as the microphone and speaker. If you have the volume turned up and audio coming through the speakers of your device, it may be picked up by your microphone and create an echo. If other participants are complaining of echo and you cannot hear any echo, it is likely that you are the cause.
- Ensure you are in a quiet, distraction-free location with good lighting and minimal background noise.
- Participants should have their microphone muted and cameras switched off when they are not speaking or not required to be seen, as directed by the Judge.
- If appearing by telephone, do not place the Court on hold. Speak directly into the phone or headset. Do not place the phone on speakerphone, as it will decrease audio quality.
- Ensure devices are fully charged before the hearing and have chargers nearby. Videoconferencing can drain the battery of devices.
We recognize that these are new procedures and challenging times for everyone. We are here to help and do our best to make sure your case is heard in a timely manner. With practice and patience, we will all get more proficient with these new technologies and platforms. Thank you.