Immigration and Protection Tribunal Operations with COVID-19 in the Community
Chairperson – Judge M Treadwell
Effective from Tuesday 13 September 2022
1. The Tribunal’s Protocol dated 13 April 2022 is hereby revoked and replaced by this protocol.
2. This protocol applies to all oral hearings at the Tribunal. While COVID-19 is in the community the Tribunal will, as far as is reasonably practicable, operate in its usual manner.
3. Oral hearings will proceed in one of two ways:
4. The appropriateness of an in-person hearing, or a remote hearing will depend on the circumstances of the particular case. This will be determined at the case management conference.
Entry into Court Buildings
5. The following requirements apply to entry into court buildings:
(a) A person may not enter the court building if they are showing signs of illness;
(b) A person who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 7 days may not enter the court building.
6. All persons entering the court building may wear a surgical mask or a KN95 mask (or equivalent) and are strongly encouraged to do so when moving around the court building (including courtrooms). Masks will be provided at the entry to the court building for all those who do not have their own mask.
7. A surgical mask or KN95 mask must be worn by all persons present in a courtroom, or by specified persons in a courtroom, if the presiding chairperson so directs.
Expectations of Counsel
8. Counsel are expected to assist the Tribunal by:
(a) Briefing clients and witnesses on the court building entry requirements and Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) testing requirements set out in this protocol.
(b) Reducing unnecessary attendance in the court building by counsel, their clients, and witnesses by reviewing each attendance in advance and:
(i) Seeking remote participation in appropriate cases;
(ii) Seeking excusals from appearances in administrative hearings; and
(iii) Limiting the number of witnesses via the use of agreed facts.
(c) Counsel should consider and endeavour to agree whether it is appropriate for any witness to participate remotely and advise the Tribunal of any such proposals well in advance of the hearing date.
9. All participants for in-person hearings longer than one day may be asked to take a RAT on each morning before the hearing commences, unless the presiding member directs that this is not required. This may also apply to participants attending hearings of half a day or longer, if the presiding member so directs. The Registry will advise counsel and any party who is not legally represented of the arrangements for testing for their particular case. If participants are asked to take a RAT, and any participant declines to do so, the presiding member will determine whether and how the hearing will proceed. If any participant tests positive, the presiding member will determine on a case-by-case basis whether and how the hearing may be able to continue.
10. The hearing will take place in person at the designated premises unless the appellant is in custody. The interpreter will be provided copies of any relevant documents during the hearing, as required.
11. In respect of in-person hearings, the Tribunal will continue to hear applications from any party for the evidence of any participant who resides at a distance or who cannot, for some reason, attend in person to be taken by remote participation, including by telephone as necessary.
12. Remote hearings will occur if an in-person hearing cannot occur, or when the Tribunal so directs. Such hearings will take place with the appellant, counsel and interpreter attending from different locations. This may be:
(a) a dedicated AVL room at a District Court;
(b) a room at the person’s home;
(c) counsel’s office;
(d) the Asylum Seekers Support Trust Hostel (where the appellant is a resident there); or
(e) some other venue which provides suitable privacy.
13. It is the responsibility of the appellant to ensure that he or she (and any witness) has available on the day of the hearing:
(a) a private room;
(b) a device which is able to connect to the Ministry’s AVL facilities via VMR or MS Teams; and
(c) sufficient data.
14. The appellant must confirm that he or she has made such arrangements prior to the hearing. A failure to make such arrangements will not constitute grounds for an adjournment.
Failure to Attend
15. Irrespective of the type of hearing offered, all hearing types constitute a scheduled hearing for the purposes of the Immigration Act 2009. Failure by an appellant to attend without reasonable excuse will be dealt with in the usual way: that is, determined by the Tribunal on the papers under section 234(1) of the Act.
16. Failure by a person required to attend an in-person hearing to undergo a RAT (in circumstances where one is required) without reasonable excuse will be treated as a failure to attend.
Communication with the Tribunal
17. Electronic filing of documents is the preferred method of communication, followed by two hard copies being sent by courier or post.
The Immigration & Protection Tribunal hears and determines appeals concerning:
The tribunal is administered by the Ministry of Justice. The tribunal is chaired by a District Court Judge appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Attorney-General. It has 18 members, appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice.
These appeals are generally being determined within 5 to 7 months after the Tribunal receives them. Send any supporting documents or submissions to the Tribunal as soon as you can.
These appeals are generally being determined within 6 to 8 months after the Tribunal receives them. Send any supporting documents or submissions to the Tribunal as soon as you can.
Judge Martin Treadwell
Any complaint made about a member of the tribunal will be considered by the Chair of the tribunal. Complaints made about the Chair will be considered by the Chief District Court Judge (because the Chair of the tribunal is a District Court Judge).
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