COVID-19 protocol of the Immigration & Protection Tribunal
1. The Tribunal’s Protocol dated 9 December 2021 is hereby revoked and replaced by this protocol.
2. This protocol applies to all oral hearings at the Tribunal. While the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Protection Framework) Order 2021 is in force, the Tribunal will, as far as is reasonably practicable, operate in its usual manner.
3. Oral hearings will proceed in one of three ways:
4. The appropriateness of an in-person hearing, an on-premises hearing or a remote hearing will depend on the current traffic light level in the relevant region, as well as on the circumstances of the particular case.
5. In regions at Traffic Light Red, hearings will be held remotely unless the Chair directs that, for reasons of urgency or other good reason, a hearing be held at-premises or in-person.
6. In regions at Traffic Light Orange, hearings will normally be held remotely but, where necessary, may be conducted on-premises or in person at the direction of the member.
7. At either Red or Orange settings, entry to the premises for in-person or on-premises hearings will be limited to Tribunal members, Ministry of Justice staff, parties, witnesses, interpreters and other stakeholders. Accredited news media will have entry in the case of any public hearing. Members of the public (including any support person) will not be permitted to enter unless granted permission from the member. Such permission should be sought by email in advance.
8. In regions at Traffic Light Green, hearings will normally be in-person but, where necessary, may be conducted on-premises or remotely at the direction of the member.
In-person hearing at Red or Orange setting
9. All participants for in-person hearings longer than one day may be asked to take a Rapid Antigen Test (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 an 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. Distances between all persons must be more than 1 metre and screens will be in place. A surgical mask or a KN95 (or equivalent) mask should be worn when not speaking. Appellant and counsel will each be provided with a copy of the file, to maintain the required social distancing. 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 AVL or telephone as necessary.
12. An on-premises hearing is one which takes place at the designated premises, but with all participants in different rooms, connected by AVL.
13. On-premises hearings may be ordered, at the discretion of the member, if any of the appellant, counsel or the interpreter does not undergo a RAT test as required. Such a person will participate from an AVL room. The person will be advised of the procedure for gaining access to the designated premises. Distances between all persons must be more than 1 metre. Surgical masks or KN95 (or equivalent) masks must be worn when outside the AVL room. Appellant and counsel will each be provided with a copy of the file. The interpreter will be provided copies of any relevant documents during the hearing, as required.
14. Remote hearings will occur if an in-person or on-premises 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:
15. It is the responsibility of the appellant to ensure that he or she (and any witness) has available on the day of the hearing:
16. 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.
17. The Tribunal will conduct a test of the remote participation arrangements not later than three clear days prior to the hearing. The case manager will make a suitable time for this.
Failure to attend
18. Irrespective of the type of hearing offered, all hearings 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.
19. Failure by a person required to attend an in-person hearing or an on-premises hearing to undergo a RAT test (in circumstances where one is required) without reasonable excuse will be treated as a failure to attend.
DATED this 13th day of April 2022
Judge M Treadwell
Chair, Immigration and Protection Tribunal
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 3 to 6 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 2 to 4 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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