Video and audio hearing in the First Tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal

During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Tribunals are adjusting their ways of working in order to limit the spread of the virus, and manage their workloads appropriately.

We’ve seen various examples of this over the last couple of weeks, which I’ve talked about in previous blogs (available here, here and here), and also in a podcast.

On 2 April, a further pilot Practice Direction was issued, this time dealing with the use of video or audio in the First Tier Tribunal (FTT) and Upper Tribunal (UT).


What hearings does the Practice Direction relate to?

The pilot Practice Direction applies to all appeals and applications in the First Tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal.


Public vs private hearings

The Practice Direction allows Tribunals to hear cases in private, if it’s necessary for the proper administration of justice and if each of the following conditions applies:

  1. The hearing in a particular case should take place;
  2. The proceedings are to be conducted wholly as video or audio proceedings; and
  3. It is not practicable for the hearing to be broadcast in a Court or Tribunal building.


Access to recordings

The Practice Direction makes clear that any hearing that’s held in private (as described above) must be recorded where it’s practicable to do so.

This then allows any person to apply to access that recording in a Tribunal or Court building, with the Tribunals’ consent.



I have talked in previous blogs about the increased number of remote hearings we are likely to be facing during the ongoing pandemic.  This pilot Practice Direction therefore comes as no surprise, and it allows Tribunals to continue to hear cases even where it’s not practicable for those hearings to be broadcast simultaneously in a Court or Tribunal building.



5 April 2020

Cassandra Zanelli

Widely recognised for her expertise in the industry, and listed among the 100 most influential people in residential leasehold management, Cass heads the team at PM Legal Services. Passionate about education and sharing knowledge, she's a regular speaker at conferences, events and seminars, having worked with leading organisations in the property management industry.

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