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Remote Hearings: Hearing Impairment

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 61114, tabled on 22 October 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 22 July to Question 35513 on Remote Hearings: Hearing Impairment, if his Department will publish the reasonable adjustment guidance and training available to HMCTS personnel.

Answered on

27 October 2021

The Equality Impact Assessment will be published alongside an evaluation of the use of remote hearings during the covid-19 outbreak. HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) aims to publish the evaluation in due course.

HMCTS Reasonable Adjustment Guidance and training are intended for internal use and HMCTS does not intend to publish these materials. Remote participation in hearings provides an alternative method for conducting a hearing. However, attending a hearing remotely will not always be appropriate. The option to hold a remote hearing is at the discretion of a judge, who will decide if it is appropriate and in the interests of justice to do so, taking into account the needs of the parties involved. The allocation of court facilities will be provided accordingly. HMCTS is committed to ensuring that remote hearings are accessible to all users including those with hearing loss.

To preserve the independence of the judiciary, the Lord Chief Justice (LCJ), the Senior President of the Tribunals, and the Chief Coroner have statutory responsibility for judicial training.  All judicial training materials are created and held by the Judicial College which is independent from the Ministry of Justice.

All judicial office holders have access to the Equal Treatment Bench Book (ETBB).  This is a publicly available guidance document that provides explicit guidance on a wide range of considerations, including with individuals who are hard of hearing.  The ETBB is published here: www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Equal-Treatment-Bench-Book-February-2021-1.pdf.

HMCTS has issued guidance to staff highlighting that court/tribunal users with hearing loss may wish to use personal or specialist equipment including Roger assistive devices in our buildings.  Where a court/tribunal user wishes to use equipment at a hearing not provided by HMCTS this is subject to judicial approval.

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