Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Appeal Tribunal (Tribunal)
Rule 24 - Pre-Hearing Conferences
Direction to attend
24.01 The Tribunal, at the request of any person, or on its own initiative, may direct the parties to an appeal and their counsel or agents, as the case may be, to attend one or more pre-hearing conferences for the purpose of considering any matter related to the appeal including,
- identification of parties and other interested persons and the scope of their participation in the hearing;
- issues related to disclosure and the exchange of information;
- identification and simplification of issues;
- identification of preliminary motions to be undertaken;
- procedural issues including the dates by which any steps in the proceeding are to be taken or begun and the date on which the hearing will begin;
- identification of facts or evidence that may be agreed upon;
- settlement of any or all of the issues in dispute;
- the possibility of obtaining admissions which may facilitate the hearing;
- the estimated duration of the hearing; and
- any other matters which may assist in the just and most expeditious disposition of the appeal.
Notice of a pre-hearing conference
24.02 Notice of a pre-hearing conference shall be given to the parties and such other persons as the Tribunal may direct.
Contents of notice
24.03 The notice shall include,
- the date, time, place and purpose of the pre-hearing conference;
- whether the parties are required to exchange or file documents or pre-hearing submissions as prescribed by Sub-rule 24.04 of these rules and, if so, the issues to be addressed and the date by which they are required;
- whether parties are required to attend in person, and
- if so, that they may be represented by counsel or an agent; or
- if not, that their counsel or agent must be given authority to make agreements and undertakings on their behalf respecting matters to be addressed at the pre-hearing conference;
- a statement that if a person other than a party does not attend the pre-hearing conference that person will not be entitled to any further notice in the proceeding; and
- a statement that the members of the Tribunal presiding at the pre-hearing conference may make orders with respect to the conduct of the proceeding which will be binding on all parties.
Exchange of documents
24.04 The Tribunal, or member(s) of the Tribunal designated to preside at a pre-hearing conference, may direct the parties to file and exchange, by a specified date, documents or pre-hearing submissions; may prescribe the issues to be addressed; and may direct that such documents or submissions are not to be made available to the public or the hearing panel.
Format of pre-hearing conferences
24.05 A pre-hearing conference may be held in person, in writing or electronically.
No public access
24.06 A pre-hearing conference shall be closed to the public unless the Tribunal directs that it be open to the public.
24.07 If settlement of any or all of the issues in dispute is a purpose of the pre-hearing conference, the member(s) of the Tribunal designated to preside at the pre-hearing conference should meet with each party separately to encourage settlement.
Limits on use of settlement discussions
24.08 If settlement of any of the issues in dispute is discussed at the pre-hearing conference,
- statements made without prejudice at a pre-trial conference shall not be communicated to the hearing panel;
- The members of the Tribunal who preside at the pre-hearing conference shall not preside at the hearing of the appeal unless the parties consent in writing or on the record;
- An agreement to settle any or all of the issues in dispute binds the parties to the agreement but is subject to approval by the Tribunal; and
- All agreements, orders and decisions which dispose of an appeal shall be made public unless the Tribunal orders otherwise.
Orders, agreements and undertakings
24.09 Orders, agreements and undertakings made at a pre-hearing conference shall be recorded in a memorandum prepared by or under the direction of the members of the Tribunal who presided at the pre-hearing conference.
Distribution of memorandum
24.10 Copies of this memorandum shall be provided to the parties and to the Tribunal members presiding at the hearing of the appeal and to such other persons as the members of the Tribunal presiding at the pre-hearing conference directs.
Use of information in memorandum
24.11 The orders, agreements and undertakings in the memorandum shall govern the conduct of the appeal and be binding upon the parties to the appeal unless otherwise ordered by the Tribunal.
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