Rule 2.407 Videoconferencing

(A)   Definitions. In this subchapter:

      (1)   “Participants” include, but are not limited to, parties, counsel, and subpoenaed witnesses, but do not include the general public.

      (2)   “Videoconferencing” means the use of an interactive technology that sends video, voice, and data signals over a transmission circuit so that two or more individuals or groups can communicate with each other simultaneously using video codecs, monitors, cameras, audio microphones, and audio speakers.

(B) Application.

(   1) Subject to standards published by the State Court Administrative Office and the criteria set forth in subsection (C), a court may, at the request of any participant, or sua sponte, allow the use of videoconferencing technology by any participant in any court-scheduled civil proceeding.

(2) Subject to State Court Administrative Office standards, courts may determine the manner and extent of the use of videoconferencing technology.

(3) This rule does not supersede a participant’s ability to participate by telephonic means under MCR 2.402.

(C) Criteria for Videoconferencing.

In determining in a particular case whether to permit the use of videoconferencing technology and the manner of proceeding with videoconferencing, the court shall consider the following factors:

(1) The capabilities of the court’s videoconferencing equipment.

(2) Whether any undue prejudice would result.

(3) The convenience of the parties and the proposed witness, and the cost of producing the witness in person in relation to the importance of the offered testimony.

(4) Whether the procedure would allow for full and effective cross-examination, especially when the cross-examination would involve documents or other exhibits.

(5) Whether the dignity, solemnity, and decorum of the courtroom would tend to impress upon the witness the duty to testify truthfully.

(6) Whether a physical liberty or other fundamental interest is at stake in the proceeding.

(7) Whether the court is satisfied that it can sufficiently control the proceedings at the remote location so as to effectively extend the courtroom to the remote location.

(8) Whether the use of videoconferencing technology presents the person at a remote location in a diminished or distorted sense that negatively reflects upon the individual at the remote location to persons present in the courtroom.

(9) Whether the use of videoconferencing technology diminishes or detracts from the dignity, solemnity, and formality of the proceeding and undermines the integrity, fairness, or effectiveness of the proceeding.

(10) Whether the person appearing by videoconferencing technology presents a significant security risk to transport and be present physically in the courtroom.

(11) Whether the parties or witness(es) have waived personal appearance or stipulated to videoconferencing.

(12) The proximity of the videoconferencing request date to the proposed appearance date.

(13) Any other factors that the court may determine to be relevant.

(D) Request for videoconferencing.

(1) A participant who requests the use of videoconferencing technology shall ensure that the equipment available at the remote location meets the technical and operational standards established by the State Court Administrative Office.

(2) A participant who requests the use of videoconferencing technology must provide the court with the videoconference dialing information and the participant’s contact information in advance of the court date when videoconferencing technology will be used.

(3) There is no motion fee for requests submitted under this rule.

(E)       Objections. The court shall rule on an objection to the use of videoconferencing under the factors set forth under subsection C.

(F)    Mechanics of Videoconferencing. The use of any videoconferencing technology must be conducted in accordance with standards published by the State Court Administrative Office. All proceedings at which videoconferencing technology is used must be recorded verbatim by the court with the exception of hearings that are not required to be recorded by law.