Legal Information: California

Statutes: California

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Updated: 
January 5, 2024

Rule 3.670. Telephone appearance

(a) Policy favoring telephone appearances

The intent of this rule is to promote uniformity in the practices and procedures relating to telephone appearances in civil cases. To improve access to the courts and reduce litigation costs, courts should permit parties, to the extent feasible, to appear by telephone at appropriate conferences, hearings, and proceedings in civil cases.

(b) Application

Subdivisions (c) through (i) of this rule are suspended from January 1, 2022, to January 1, 2026, during which time the provisions in rule 3.672 apply in their place. This rule applies to all general civil cases as defined in rule 1.6 and to unlawful detainer and probate proceedings.

(c) General provision authorizing parties to appear by telephone

Except as ordered by the court under (f)(2) and subject to (d) (regarding ex parte applications) and (h) (regarding notice), all parties, including moving parties, may appear by telephone at all conferences, hearings, and proceedings other than those where personal appearances are required under (e).

(d) Provisions regarding ex parte applications

(1) Applicants

Except as ordered by the court under (f)(2) and subject to (h), applicants seeking an ex parte order may appear by telephone provided that the moving papers have been filed and a proposed order submitted by at least 10:00 a.m. two court days before the ex parte appearance and, if required by local rule, copies have been provided directly to the department in which the matter is to be considered.

(2) Opposing Parties

Even if the applicant has not complied with (1), except as ordered by the court under (f)(2) and subject to the provisions in (h), parties opposing an ex parte order may appear by telephone.

(e) Required personal appearances

(1) Except as permitted by the court under (f)(3), a personal appearance is required for the following hearings, conferences, and proceedings:

(A) Trials, hearings, and proceedings at which witnesses are expected to testify;

(B) Hearings on temporary restraining orders;

(C) Settlement conferences;

(D) Trial management conferences;

(E) Hearings on motions in limine; and

(F) Hearings on petitions to confirm the sale of property under the Probate Code.

(2) In addition, except as permitted by the court under (f)(3), a personal appearance is required for the following persons:

(A) Persons ordered to appear to show cause why sanctions should not be imposed for violation of a court order or a rule; or

(B) Persons ordered to appear in an order or citation issued under the Probate Code.

 

At the proceedings described under (2), parties who are not required to appear in person under this rule may appear by telephone.

(f) Court discretion to modify rule

(1) Policy favoring telephone appearances in civil cases

In exercising its discretion under this provision, the court should consider the general policy favoring telephone appearances in civil cases.

(2) Court may require personal appearances

The court may require a party to appear in person at a hearing, conference, or proceeding listed in (c) or (d) if the court determines on a hearing-by-hearing basis that a personal appearance would materially assist in the determination of the proceedings or in the effective management or resolution of the particular case.

(3) Court may permit appearances by telephone

The court may permit a party to appear by telephone at a hearing, conference, or proceeding under (e) if the court determines that a telephone appearance is appropriate.

(g) Need for personal appearance

If, at any time during a hearing, conference, or proceeding conducted by telephone, the court determines that a personal appearance is necessary, the court may continue the matter and require a personal appearance.

(h) Notice by party

(1) Except as provided in (6), a party choosing to appear by telephone at a hearing, conference, or proceeding, other than on an ex parte application, under this rule must either:

(A) Place the phrase “Telephone Appearance” below the title of the moving, opposing, or reply papers; or

(B) At least two court days before the appearance, notify the court and all other parties of the party’s intent to appear by telephone. If the notice is oral, it must be given either in person or by telephone. If the notice is in writing, it must be given by filing a “Notice of Intent to Appear by Telephone” with the court at least two court days before the appearance and by serving the notice by any means authorized by law and reasonably calculated to ensure delivery to the parties at least two court days before the appearance.

(2) If after receiving notice from another party as provided under (1) a party that has not given notice also decides to appear by telephone, the party may do so by notifying the court and all other parties that have appeared in the action, no later than noon on the court day before the appearance, of its intent to appear by telephone.

(3) An applicant choosing to appear by telephone at an ex parte appearance under this rule must:

(A) Place the phrase “Telephone Appearance” below the title of the application papers;

(B) File and serve the papers in such a way that they will be received by the court and all parties by no later than 10:00 a.m. two court days before the ex parte appearance; and

(C) If provided by local rule, ensure that copies of the papers are received in the department in which the matter is to be considered.

(4) Any party other than an applicant choosing to appear by telephone at an ex parte appearance under this rule must notify the court and all other parties that have appeared in the action, no later than 2:00 p.m. or the “close of business” (as that term is defined in rule 2.250(b)(10)), whichever is earlier, on the court day before the appearance, of its intent to appear by telephone. If the notice is oral, it must be given either in person or by telephone. If the notice is in writing, it must be given by filing a “Notice of Intent to Appear by Telephone” with the court and by serving the notice on all other parties by any means authorized by law reasonably calculated to ensure delivery to the parties no later than 2:00 p.m. or “the close of business” (as that term is defined in rule 2.250(b)(10)), whichever is earlier, on the court day before the appearance.

(5) If a party that has given notice that it intends to appear by telephone under (1) subsequently chooses to appear in person, the party may appear in person.

(6) A party may ask the court for leave to appear by telephone without the notice provided for under (1)-(4). The court should permit the party to appear by telephone upon a showing of good cause or unforeseen circumstances.

(i) Notice by court

After a party has requested a telephone appearance under (h), if the court requires the personal appearance of the party, the court must give reasonable notice to all parties before the hearing and may continue the hearing if necessary to accommodate the personal appearance. The court may direct the court clerk, a court-appointed vendor, a party, or an attorney to provide the notification. In courts using a telephonic tentative ruling system for law and motion matters, court notification that parties must appear in person may be given as part of the court’s tentative ruling on a specific law and motion matter if that notification is given one court day before the hearing.

(j) Fee waivers

(1) Effect of fee waiver

A party that has received a fee waiver must not be charged fees for telephone appearances.

(2) Responsibility of requesting party

To obtain telephone services without payment of a telephone appearance fee from a vendor or a court that provides telephone appearance services, a party must advise the vendor or the court that he or she has received a fee waiver from the court. If a vendor requests, the party must transmit a copy of the order granting the fee waiver to the vendor.

(3) Lien on judgment

If a party based on a fee waiver receives telephone appearance services under this rule without payment of a fee, the vendor or court that provides the telephone appearance services has a lien on any judgment, including a judgment for costs, that the party may receive, in the amount of the fee that the party would have paid for the telephone appearance. There is no charge for filing the lien.

(k) Title IV-D proceedings

(1) Court-provided telephone appearance services

If a court provides telephone appearance services in a proceeding for child or family support under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act brought by or otherwise involving a local child support agency, the court must not charge a fee for those services.

(2) Responsibility of requesting party

When a party in a Title IV-D proceeding requests telephone appearance services from a court or a vendor, the party requesting the services must advise the court or the vendor that the requester is a party in a proceeding for child or family support under Title IV-D brought by or otherwise involving a local child support agency.

(3) Fee waivers applicable

The fee waiver provisions in (j) apply to a request by a party in a Title IV-D proceeding for telephone appearance services from a vendor.

(l) Audibility and procedure

The court must ensure that the statements of participants are audible to all other participants and the court staff and that the statements made by a participant are identified as being made by that participant.

(m) Reporting

All proceedings involving telephone appearances must be reported to the same extent and in the same manner as if the participants had appeared in person.

(n) Conference call vendor or vendors

A court, by local rule, may designate the conference call vendor or vendors that must be used for telephone appearances.

(o) Information on telephone appearances

The court must publish notice providing parties with the particular information necessary for them to appear by telephone at conferences, hearings, and proceedings in that court under this rule.

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