Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal (Tribunal)

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Rule 10- Electronic hearings

Electronic hearings to be public

10.01 All electronic hearings shall be open to the public except where the Tribunal determines that the appeal should be heard in the absence of the public.

Factors to be considered

10.02 In deciding whether to conduct an electronic hearing or not the Tribunal may consider any relevant factors, including,

  1. the suitability of the electronic technology to the subject matter of the hearing;
  2. whether the electronic format is suitable for the evidence to be presented at the hearing, including whether credibility is an issue and the extent to which facts are in dispute;
  3. the extent to which the matters in dispute are questions of law;
  4. the convenience of the parties;
  5. the cost, efficiency and timeliness of the proceeding;
  6. avoidance of unnecessary delay or a lengthy hearing;
  7. ensuring a fair and understandable process;
  8. the desirability or necessity of public participation in or public access to the hearing process; or
  9. any other factors affecting the fulfilment of the Tribunal's statutory mandate.

Conversion to another mode

10.03 The Tribunal may convert an electronic hearing to an oral hearing whenever the Tribunal deems it appropriate or to a written hearing with the consent of all of the parties.

Notice of an electronic hearing

10.04 Notice of an electronic hearing shall include,

  1. a statement of the time and purpose of the hearing and details of the manner in which the hearing will be conducted;
  2. a statement that the only purpose of the hearing is to deal with procedural matters, if that is the case;
  3. if clause (b) is not applicable, a statement that any party may require the Tribunal to hold the hearing as an oral hearing by satisfying the Tribunal that holding the hearing as an electronic hearing is likely to cause the party significant prejudice and an indication of the procedure to be followed for that purpose;
  4. a statement that if the party notified neither acts under clause (c), if applicable, nor participates in the hearing in accordance with the notice, the Tribunal may proceed without the party's participation and the party will not be entitled to any further notice in the proceeding;
  5. a statement that the hearing will be open to the public unless the Tribunal directs otherwise in accordance with section 9 of the SPPA; and
  6. any other information about the appeal the Tribunal considers advisable.

Objections to the electronic format

10.05 A party who objects to a hearing being held as an electronic hearing shall notify the Tribunal and all other parties to the appeal of its objection within three business days of receiving notice of the electronic hearing.

Response to notice of objection

10.06 All other parties shall send a written response to the objection to the Tribunal within six business days of receiving the objection unless the Tribunal orders otherwise.

Contents of notice of objection

10.07 In a notice of objection the objecting party shall set out the reasons why the objecting party believes that an electronic hearing is likely to cause the objecting party significant prejudice.

Procedure when objection is received

10.08 If the Tribunal receives an objection to the use of the electronic format it may,

  1. accept the objection, cancel the electronic hearing and either schedule an oral hearing or, with the consent of all the parties schedule a written hearing;
  2. if the Tribunal is satisfied that no significant prejudice will result it may reject the objection without inviting responses from the other parties and proceed with the electronic hearing; or
  3. provide the other parties with an opportunity to respond to the objection and, after considering the objection and all the responses, reject the objection and continue with the electronic hearing or accept the objection and schedule an oral hearing or, with the consent of all of the parties, schedule a written hearing.

Tribunal to provide directions

10.09 For the purposes of clause 10.08 (c) the Tribunal shall provide directions to the other parties regarding the form and content of their responses to the notice of objection and for the reply, if any of an objecting party to these responses.

Terms and conditions

10.10 The Tribunal may, in order to facilitate the holding of an electronic hearing, impose terms and conditions, including specifying who will set up the electronic hearing, and requiring a party who requests an electronic hearing to pay all or part of the cost of providing the facilities necessary for the conduct of the hearing electronically.

Participants to Remain in view of Camera

10.11 While a video conference hearing is in progress all persons at the video conference site must remain in view of the camera at all times.

Hearing in the absence of a party

10.12 If a party to an electronic hearing does not object or participate the Tribunal may proceed without the party's participation and the party will not be entitled to any further notice in the proceeding.

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