A hearing will be conducted orally in a court room or determined on the papers only without the parties. If orally, a location will be agreed often in consultation with the parties. Again, the Tribunal's Practice Notes may be relevant at this stage.
The First–tier Tribunal will try and organise a hearing as soon as possible. You will receive a notice providing the time and place of the hearing at least 14 days beforehand together with a map of how to find the venue.
Oral hearings will normally start between 10.00am and 10.30am unless the Judge of the Tribunal decides otherwise. It is suggested that you arrive at least 30 minutes before the planned start of your hearing, as due to the need for security checks there may be delays in entering the hearing centre.
The following may be present at oral hearings:
Please put your request in writing and send it by fax, e-mail or letter to the Tribunal stating your case reference number and the details of what is required. Please give the Tribunal as much notice as possible (at least a week) to avoid delays to the hearing. Contact details can be found on our Contact us page.
That is entirely up to you, there is no legal requirement for you to have one. Please note there is no legal aid available for appeals to the First–tier Tribunal (Information Rights). However you may be able to obtain free legal support. Details can be found on our How to appeal page.
A Judge and 2 other panel members will hear your case.
Yes. Any party involved in the appeal can call witnesses to support their case.
Anyone with first hand knowledge of relevant matters can be a witness.
If a witness refuses to attend a hearing the Tribunal can issue a summons to order that person to attend.
When you arrive at the Hearing Centre, you should report to reception who will note your arrival and direct you to a waiting area. If you require a private waiting room ask reception who may be able to assist if any are available. The Tribunal clerk will find you, brief you on the courtroom procedure and guide you to the courtroom when the case is ready to start. The clerk will want to know the names of any witnesses and, if they are required by the Judge to swear or affirm an oath, the holy book they would wish to use for the purpose.
The parties or their representatives will usually sit on the front bench facing the Tribunal panel, their witnesses behind them and members of the public at the rear of the court room. The Judge will manage the proceedings and explain the order in which the parties and their witnesses will be heard. Usually the appellant will open and call his/her witnesses first. Once a witness has given his/her evidence then the other parties and the Tribunal panel will be able to put questions to the witness. This process will be repeated for all parties. Finally the parties, or more likely their representatives (if any), will be entitled to make final submissions to the Tribunal panel. Then the panel will usually retire to consider their decision.
The Judge will manage the hearing in a way that helps ensure there is time for the proper questioning of witnesses and so as to bring matters to a timely conclusion at the end of the hearing.
Each party pays their own costs unless, in very rare cases, a party has acted unreasonably in bringing, defending or conducting the proceedings.