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Guide to on-line hearings

Last updated: January 26, 2024

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The BC Human Rights Tribunal [Tribunal] is conducting hearings by video using the Microsoft Teams on-line platform. If you have not used Microsoft Teams before, this document will help you prepare so you can fully take part in the on-line hearing.

The Tribunal may depart from this Guide at its discretion. This Guide does not affect the ability of the Tribunal to control its own processes when conducting on-line hearings.

Prepare for the hearing

Before attending a Tribunal hearing using Microsoft Teams, you will need to:

Contact information for every person attending the hearing

On-line hearings via Microsoft Teams are set up using email addresses. One week before the hearing, each party must give the Tribunal contact information for anyone who is attending the hearing for their side. Give the full name, email address, and phone number for each:

  • party
  • lawyer or advocate or agent
  • witness

The day before the hearing begins, the Tribunal will email each person a link to ‘Join Microsoft Teams Meeting’. Do not delete the email message and keep it handy as you will need to use the link each time you access the virtual hearing room throughout the hearing.


Each party must give copies of any document they want to have entered as an exhibit to all other parties and the Tribunal before the hearing.

The Tribunal Member hearing your case will decide how each party will give their documents (e.g. pdf or hard copy). The Member will discuss this with you during the hearing readiness conference.

Each party must organize their documents by doing the following before they give the documents to the Tribunal and other parties:

  • prepare and include an index to the documents
  • put page numbers on the documents
  • put tabs or pdf “bookmarks” between each document

In some cases, the Tribunal Member may ask parties to work together to prepare a joint book of documents. The Member will discuss this with you at the hearing readiness conference.

Attend the hearing

To attend a Tribunal hearing using Microsoft Teams, you will need:

  • a computer or tablet equipped with a webcam and microphone
  • a stable and reliable internet connection with adequate bandwidth, and
  • headphones with a microphone attachment, if possible.

In exceptional cases, you may be able to use a smartphone to participate in the hearing. The presiding Tribunal Member will decide if you may use a smartphone. 

Join the hearing

At least 10 minutes before the hearing is scheduled to start:

  • Click the ‘Join Microsoft Teams Meeting’ link in the invitation email that the Tribunal sent you.
  • If you don’t already have the Teams app, click ‘Download the Windows app’.
  • Once you ‘Launch’ the Teams app, click ‘Join as a guest’.
  • Enter your full name.
  • Click ‘Join meeting’.

You will be placed in a lobby (virtual waiting room) by yourself.

The Tribunal Member running the hearing can see when people are in the waiting room and will admit each person into the hearing. You may have to wait for a few minutes. If the system times out, click ‘Rejoin’ and wait for the Member to admit you.

If you have technical issues using Microsoft Teams that prevent you from joining the hearing, contact the Tribunal’s designated contact person right away. The designated person’s contact information is in the email with the link to the hearing.

At the hearing

You should dress and act like you would if you were attending the hearing in person.


  • You may not record any part of the hearing. This includes, but is not limited to, video recording, audio recording and/or taking screen shots.
  • The Tribunal Member will conduct the hearing and tell you when it is your turn to speak.
  • Keep your face clearly visible during the hearing. Position your webcam at face level, relatively close to you, and without any back light.
  • Keep your video function on at all times during the hearing, unless the Tribunal Member asks you to turn it off.
  • Mute your mic unless you are: making an argument or submission; questioning a witness; or giving testimony.
  • Do not talk over or interrupt others while they are speaking.


If you wish to make an objection:

  • Unmute your mic and say that you want to make an objection
  • Wait for the Tribunal Member to ask you to explain the reason for your objection

The Tribunal Member may exclude a witness from the hearing during an objection. If this happens, the Tribunal Member may place the witness in the virtual waiting room so that the objection may be discussed without the witness present. After the Tribunal Member deals with the objection, the Member will let the witness back into the virtual hearing room. 

Microsoft Teams may time out the virtual waiting room after a period of time. If this happens, either click “Rejoin” or the link to ‘Join Microsoft Teams Meeting’ in the Tribunal’s original invitation email. Wait for the Tribunal Member to let you into the virtual hearing room.

Screen-sharing documents

The Tribunal Member may use the  ‘screen share’ function to display documents during a hearing. If a party has a document that they want to show to the Tribunal Member or a witness, the party may ask the Member to display the document using the ‘screen share’ function.

More information about ‘screen share’ is outline in the Microsoft Teams Participant Instructions.


If you are going to be a witness, you should prepare to give your evidence:

  • Set up your webcam so your face is clearly visible
  • Set up your webcam in a quiet room so the Tribunal Member can hear you when you speak

When you give evidence:

  • face the camera, and speak directly into the microphone
  • do not text, email or read messages while you are testifying


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