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2024 California Rules of Court

Rule 5.531. Appearance by telephone (§ 388; Pen. Code § 2625)

(a) Application

Subdivisions (b) and (c) of this rule are suspended from January 1, 2022, to January 1, 2026. During that time, the applicable provisions in rule 3.672 or Welfare and Institutions Code sections 224.2(k) or 679.5, and any rules implementing those statutes, govern remote appearances and proceedings in juvenile court. The standards in (b) apply to any appearance or participation in court by telephone, videoconference, or other digital or electronic means authorized by law.

(Subd (a) amended effective August 4, 2023; previously effective January 1, 2022.)

(b) Standards for local procedures or protocols

Local procedures or protocols must be developed to ensure the fairness and confidentiality of any proceeding in which a party is permitted by statute, rule of court, or judicial discretion to appear by telephone. These procedures or protocols must, at a minimum:

(1)  Allow an Indian child's tribe to appear by telephone or other computerized remote means at no charge in accordance with rule 5.482(g). The method of appearance may be determined by the court consistent with court capacity and contractual obligations, and taking account of the capacity of the tribe, as long as a method of effective remote appearance and participation sufficient to allow the tribe to fully exercise its rights is provided;

(2)  Ensure that the party appearing by telephone can participate in the hearing in real time, with no delay in aural or, if any, visual transmission or reception;

(3)  Ensure that the statements of participants are audible to all other participants and court staff and that the statements made by a participant are identified as being made by that participant;

(4)  Ensure that the proceedings remain confidential as required by law;

(5)  Establish a deadline of no more than three court days before the proceeding for notice to the court by the party or party's attorney (if any) of that party's intent to appear by telephone, and permit that notice to be conveyed by any method reasonably calculated to reach the court, including telephone, fax, or other electronic means;

(6)  Permit the party, on a showing of good cause, to appear by telephone even if he or she did not provide timely notice of intent to appear by telephone;

(7)  Permit a party to appear in person for a proceeding at the time and place for which the proceeding was noticed, even if that party had previously notified the court of an intent to appear by telephone;

(8)  Ensure that any hearing at which a party appears by telephone is recorded and reported to the same extent and in the same manner as if he or she had been physically present;

(9)  Ensure that the party appearing by telephone is able to communicate confidentially with his or her attorney (if any) during the proceeding and provide timely notice to all parties of the steps necessary to secure confidential communication; and

(10)  Provide for the development of the technological capacity to accommodate appearances by telephone that comply with the requirements of this rule.

(Subd (b) amended effective January 1, 2021.)

(c) No independent right

Nothing in this rule confers on any person an independent right to appear by telephone, videoconference, or other electronic means in any proceeding.

Rule 5.531 amended effective August 4, 2023; adopted effective January 1, 2012; previously amended effective January 1, 2021, and January 1, 2022.

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