International Protection Act 2015

Oral hearing

42. (1) The Tribunal shall hold an oral hearing for the purpose of an appeal under section 41 where—

(a) subject to subsection (2), the applicant has requested this in the notice under section 41 (2), or

(b) it is of the opinion that it is in the interests of justice to do so.

(2) (a) An applicant may withdraw a request referred to in subsection (1)(a) by giving notice, which shall set out the reasons for the withdrawal, to the Tribunal not later than 3 working days before the hearing date.

(b) The Tribunal, on receipt of a notice under paragraph (a), shall consider, having regard to the interests of justice, whether to hold an oral hearing.

(3) Except where otherwise provided, an appeal may be determined without an oral hearing.

(4) Subject to subsections (5) and (6), an oral hearing shall be held in private.

(5) The High Commissioner may be present at an oral hearing for the purpose of observing the proceedings.

(6) In conducting an oral hearing, the Tribunal shall—

(a) permit the applicant to be present at the hearing and present his or her case to the Tribunal in person or through a legal representative,

(b) permit an officer of the Minister or another person nominated by the Minister to be present at and participate in the hearing and, in person or through a legal representative, explain to the Tribunal the recommendation of the international protection officer that is the subject of the appeal,

(c) where necessary for the purpose of ensuring appropriate communication during the hearing, provide the applicant with the services of an interpreter,

(d) conduct the oral hearing as informally as is practicable, and consistent with fairness and transparency,

(e) ensure that the oral hearing proceeds with due expedition, and

(f) allow for the examination and cross-examination of the applicant and any witnesses.

(7) (a) Where the notice of appeal under section 41 includes a request to the Tribunal to direct the attendance of a witness before the Tribunal, the Tribunal shall, in respect of each such witness, determine whether he or she should be directed to attend before the Tribunal in accordance with subsection (8).

(b) In making a determination under paragraph (a), the Tribunal shall have regard to the nature and purpose of the evidence proposed to be given by the witness as indicated in the notice of appeal.

(8) For the purposes of an oral hearing, the Tribunal may—

(a) direct in writing any person, other than the Minister or an officer of the Minister, whose evidence is required by the Tribunal to attend before the Tribunal on a date and at a time and place specified in the direction and there to give evidence and to produce any document or thing in his or her possession or control specified in the direction,

(b) direct any such person to produce any specified document or thing in his or her possession or control,

(c) give any other directions for the purpose of an appeal that appear to the Tribunal to be reasonable and just, and

(d) take evidence on oath or on affirmation and for that purpose may cause persons attending before it to swear an oath or make an affirmation.

(9) Paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (8) and section 44 (2) shall not apply to a document or thing relating to information which the Minister or the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade directs (which he or she is hereby empowered to do) that the information be withheld in the interest of national security or public policy (“ordre public”).

(10) Subject to subsection (11), a witness whose evidence has been or is to be given before the Tribunal shall be entitled to the same privileges and immunities as a witness in a court.

(11) Where information has been supplied to the Minister, an international protection officer, a Department of State or other branch or office of the public service by or on behalf of the government of another state subject to an undertaking (express or implied) that the information would be kept confidential, the information shall not be produced or further disclosed, other than in accordance with the undertaking, or with the consent of the other state.