Those finding their occasional video conferences tedious might want to spare a thought for parties in one of NSW's longest scheduled trials.
The marathon coal conspiracy trial of former NSW mining ministers Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald resumed in the NSW Supreme Court on Friday with all parties conferring virtually to examine the feasibility of running a substantial part of the matter online.
Chief Justice Tom Bathurst on Monday banned all physical appearances in the state's highest courts except in "exceptional circumstances" due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the time, the judge-only trial of Obeid, Macdonald and Obeid's son Moses was only five weeks into its scheduled 26 weeks.
Justice Elizabeth Fullerton said the chief justice rejected her request to have the trial resume with only prosecution and defence lawyers physically in court.
"My preference is for a physical trial. I have explored every means for which leave might be granted," Justice Fullerton said.
Asking the parties to give the online trial "a red-hot go" and see if some headway can be made with at least a few witnesses, Justice Fullerton promised to not allow the process to undermine the interests of the accused and the prosecution in having a fair trial.
Friday's hearing was originally set down for 10am, but abandoned at 10.40am when several parties either couldn't connect or repeatedly dropped out.
Further problems were experienced at the 2pm re-run.
"We've lost (Macdonald's barrister) Mr Martin again," Justice Fullerton said, halting discussion to allow him to rejoin.
Minutes later, the Crown dropped out, again stopping the hearing.
"I don't know (what happened), Your Honour. It froze," prosecutor Sophie Callan said.
The trial may proceed with all parties on mute, bar the judge, the witness and the lawyer undertaking questioning, the court heard.
Without any chat function in the court software, semaphore - the language of standardised signs - could be used to raise objections and other legal processes.
The trial is due to resume on Tuesday.
"I'm not calling it a dress rehearsal in any way," the judge said.
"We will simply see how it goes."
Macdonald and the Obeids have pleaded not guilty over the allegation they conspired to commit an offence between 2007 and 2009, when Macdonald was mineral resources minister and the Obeids owned land in coal country in NSW's Hunter region.