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Letter from the President of the FtTIAC (21 March 2020)

We have been raising concerns about the safety of practitioners and clients throughout the week. We have received a response from President Clements of the FtTIAC.

Points to note in particular:

  • On Monday and Tuesday,  23rd  and 24th March, the Tribunal will list only a handful of substantive appeals in each hearing centre.  This will give an opportunity to apply guidance regarding social distancing and minimise the risks associated with close contact and crowded public areas.  The reduction in lists at Taylor House and Hatton Cross will be substantial and will allow an appropriate distance between courts, the use of empty rooms for parties to wait in and adjustments to hearing rooms so that those required to be present can maintain the recommended separation from each other of about two metres.
  • From Wednesday, 25th March onwards, there will be no face to face hearings listed in any centre.  Applications for bail and emergency work will continue to be given priority but, save in exceptional circumstances, applications and hearings will be conducted remotely.
  • Within the next few days the Tribunal expect to send notice to the parties in all cases that wherever possible evidence and submissions are lodged by electronic means.  Remote case management will follow so that  judges may decide whether individual appeals may be decided without a hearing, in accordance with the Procedure Rules and, if not, whether a hearing may proceed remotely by means of Skype, Microsoft Teams or similar technology.  

We are aware that there are strong conflicting views among practitioners as to whether any hearings should be taking place at present. Concerns have been raised about the difficulties of case preparation at home, while others have expressed concern at any hearings being adjourned. Once the new procedures have started, we would like practitioners to provide us with examples of any issues experienced. We understand that Public Law Project will be launching a survey shortly to capture data as remote hearings develop. We will circulate this once received. 

Document number

20.03.36047

Uploaded Date

22 March 2020

Doc. Date

21 March 2020

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