I recently finished a two day Bankrutpcy hearing using Caselines and Zoom in the Province of Ontario. While the issues were simple, the use of an interpreter added some challenges as well as the continual dropping of the Zoom connection to the Court Reporter.
While I’ve done numerous Zoom and MS Teams Hearings during the pandemic, this was my first opportunity to use Caselines as it slowly rolls out through the province as the rate of distribution of the Covid vaccine, maybe slightly faster.
I really enjoyed using Caselines – if you are counsel here are a few things that will make it a lot easiser for you:
- Ensure everyone who needs to be involved in uploading material and viewing it is registered for Caselines. This includes your Law Clerk, Paralegal and Legal Assistant if you would like them to upload materials for you. As the lawyer, you need to generate their ability to join the specific case you’re working on, so get that out of the way early.
One interesting item is that there is no “interpreter” role in Caselines, so we were told to add them as a Legal Assistant.
- Read the Practice Directions regarding what should be uploaded. As of the writing of this Blog, affidavits of service are not to be uploaded, but that may change in the future.
In our case, we uploaded our Exhibit Book and the cases we relied on in our closing argument.
- Use the notes function to move through your case with ease. I put notes on each document in my examination and shared those notes with my associate so that she was able to follow the evidence with me.
- Use “present” mode when you are asking questions and ensure everyone is set to follow presenter. If that fails, as it did in our hearing mid way through, you can still use the “go to page” function to take everyone there. Know how to use both so you’re comfortable during the hearing.
- Make sure you understand section “G” which is where documents will be uploaded by the Registrar, including Exhibit lists and endorsements. This section is less intuitive than the sections controlled by counsel.
- Test ahead of time. As it was my first time using Caselines I wanted to be sure that my group notes were not available to all, so we tested that. I also wanted to practice “presenting” in order to ensure I was able to take witnesses smoothly through the evidence.
One of the biggest initial problems we encountered at the Hearing itself was one counsel and several other people not understanding that logging into Caselines is separate from logging into Zoom.
I found using a large screen allowed me to easily navigate the trial with both programs open at the same time. Others appeared to have two different screens, which does create a weird “not looking at you” dynamic, but something we’re all getting used to with Video litigation.
If you’re about to use Caselines & have a question, feel free to drop me a note. However, unlike that radio ad by the LTD Law Firm that claims “there are no bad questions” I can assure you there are and I will call you on it (ha ha).