Hepatitis C Compensation Tribunal Act, 1997

The Tribunal.

3.—(1) On the establishment day there shall stand established a Tribunal to be known as the Hepatitis C Compensation Tribunal to award compensation to claimants referred to in subsection (1) of section 4 in respect of the matters referred to in that subsection or in any regulations made under section 9 in respect of matters referred to in those regulations, in accordance with this Act.

(2) The Tribunal may sit in divisions of itself to hear claims before it.

(3) The Tribunal shall consist of a chairman (“the Tribunal chairman”) and such number of ordinary members as may be prescribed.

(4) The members of the Tribunal shall be appointed by the Minister.

(5) The term of office of a member of the Tribunal shall be for such period as is specified by the Minister when appointing such member.

(6) (a) A member of the Tribunal may, by letter addressed to the Minister, resign her or his membership.

(b) A member of the Tribunal may be removed from office by the Minister.

(7) In the case of a member of the Tribunal filling a vacancy caused by the resignation, removal from office or death of a member before the completion of the term of office of the last-mentioned member, the member filling that vacancy shall hold office for the remainder of the term of office of the person who so resigned, was so removed from office or died.

(8) A member of the Tribunal shall be paid such remuneration (if any) and allowances (if any) as may be determined by the Minister with the consent of the Minister for Finance.

(9) The Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, appoint such employees of the Tribunal as the Minister considers necessary to assist the Tribunal in the performance of its functions, and such employees shall hold office on such terms and receive such remuneration as the Minister for Finance determines.

(10) (a) The Tribunal may in its own behalf or at the request of a claimant where a person has failed to comply with a requirement of the claimant under section 4 (11), by giving notice in that behalf in writing to any person, require such person to attend at such time and place as is specified in the notice to give evidence in relation to any matter referred to the Tribunal under this Act or to produce any documents in her or his possession, custody or control which relate to any such matter.

(b) A notice under paragraph (a) may be given either by delivering it to the person to whom it relates or by sending it by post in a prepaid registered letter addressed to such person at the address at which she or he ordinarily resides.

(c) A person to whom a notice under paragraph (a) has been given and who refuses or wilfully neglects to attend in accordance with the notice or who, having so attended, refuses to give evidence or refuses or wilfully fails to produce any document to which the notice relates shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding £500.

(11) Subject to this Act, the Tribunal shall determine its own procedures and, in so doing, shall as far as is practicable adopt procedures which are informal.

(12) The Tribunal shall conduct its hearings otherwise than in public.

(13) The Tribunal may appoint its own counsel who may call such expert witnesses to give evidence as the Tribunal may require.

(14) The Tribunal may appoint medical or other experts to advise it.

(15) In considering and assessing a claim before it, the Tribunal shall rely primarily on written medical or other written reports, and shall make such reports (other than reports submitted by the claimant) available to the claimant concerned at her or his request.

(16) The Tribunal may, in addition to hearing counsel for a claimant, in respect of any matter before it seek the assistance of any or all of the following—

(a) counsel for any body which represents any class of claimant,

(b) counsel for any party against whom allegations alleged to

warrant the award of aggravated or exemplary damages are made, or

(c) counsel appointed by the Tribunal in relation to any matter which it regards as necessary.

(17) Nothing in subsection (16) permits the cross examination of any claimant.

(18) A claimant and any witness giving evidence on behalf of a claimant may be asked questions by the Tribunal or by counsel for the Tribunal or by both.