Yes. Provision exists at 38 court locations in Scotland.
Articles 10-12 and 17 apply to all applications received in terms of Regulation 1206/2001. No other local procedures are applied in these cases.
There are no restrictions on the type of person who can be examined.
There are no statutory restrictions. There may be practical restrictions (for example, reference to physical objects held by the requesting court to which the witness does not have access).
Again there are no statutory restrictions. Courtrooms and other rooms have been used in the past. Appropriate accommodation will be determined by the Sheriff and Sheriff Clerk at the court where the application is received.
It is possible to record hearings.
In any event, since proceedings could be recorded at either end of a videoconferencing link, it may be more appropriate for the requesting court to record proceedings direct.
In both cases, the default language is English.
If the requesting court desires a different language then an interpreter would be required to translate proceedings into English for the benefit of those parties present who do not speak the language of the requesting court.
In accordance with Article 18 of Regulation1206/2001the requested court should make arrangements for the attendance of an interpreter locally.
Notification to the parties would be made by the local court in terms of Article 11(4) of Regulation1206/2001. This would normally be done by first class, recorded delivery letter.
In general, the existing rules regarding notification apply – i.e. a minimum of 48 hours notice would be required. In practice, however, a longer period of notice would be given since the hearings are usually fixed a few weeks in advance.
Generally any cost to the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service for the use of videoconferencing facilities is not passed on to other parties.
Appropriate notice is given by the requesting court in Form A. It would be normal practice to copy that information over to Form F which is subsequently served on the witness. No further requirements are imposed by the local court.
There is no set procedure. The requesting court may stipulate such things as the production of a Passport or Driving Licence and such requirements would be passed on to the witness. Any documentary evidence of identity would be checked on the day in a manner which satisfies the requesting court.
If an oath is required by the requesting court then the local court would need to know what procedures are to be applied by the requesting court (the provision of a holy book, for example, or the form of words to be used).
It may be that the local court would wish, additionally, to administer the Scottish oath but that is a matter which would be at the discretion of the presiding Sheriff.
As part of the preparatory work, the local court would obtain details of a contact at the requesting court and pass those details to the Electronic Service Delivery Unit (ESDU) of the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service.
ESDU would then liaise with the requesting court staff to arrange a time and a place for a test of the equipment. ESDU would also attend on the day to operate the local equipment and deal with any technical problems.
Any particular access requirements or information about medical conditions which may affect the choice of location or time of the hearing.
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