6th January 2021: With only one exception all matters, whether case management, interlocutory or the hearing of substantive appeals together with issues concerning orders and costs, have been dealt with in the Supreme Court remotely since the beginning of the pandemic. That situation will continue for the foreseeable future. Where the general situation concerning the prevalence of COVID-19 is such that, in the light of Government regulation and guidance, a lesser degree of restriction is in place, then it may be possible to consider physical hearings in cases where there would be a significant advantage to the conduct of an appeal by its being conducted in person. Any suggestion in that regard should be made to the case management judge during the case management process. However, given the very high current prevalence of the virus and the significantly greater restrictions on movement presently in place, it will only be possible to agree to a physical hearing in circumstances where it is considered absolutely necessary, in the interests of justice, that such a hearing is required. In current conditions the mere fact that it might be considered to be materially more convenient to conduct a physical hearing will not be considered sufficient to justify the congregation of a significant number of persons in the courtroom. Where parties consider that this higher threshold is met, the question of a physical hearing should be raised with the case management judge. The issue of whether the threshold can again be lowered to one of material additional convenience will be kept under continuous review in the light of prevailing circumstances.