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The Race Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1997

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Help for aggrieved persons in obtaining information etc.N.I.

63.—(1) With a view to helping a person ( “the person aggrieved”) who considers he may have been discriminated against[F1 or subjected to harassment] in contravention of this Order to decide whether to institute proceedings and, if he does so, to formulate and present his case in the most effective manner, the Department shall by order prescribe—

(a)forms by which the person aggrieved may question the respondent on his reasons for doing any relevant act, or on any other matter which is or may be relevant; and

(b)forms by which the respondent may if he so wishes reply to any questions.

(2) Where the person aggrieved questions the respondent (whether in accordance with an order under paragraph (1) or not)—

(a)the question, and any reply by the respondent (whether in accordance with such an order or not) shall, subject to the following provisions of this Article, be admissible as evidence in the proceedings;

(b)if it appears to the court or tribunal that the respondent deliberately, and without reasonable excuse, omitted to reply within a reasonable period[F1 or, where the question relates to discrimination on grounds of race or ethnic or national origins, or to harassment, the period of eight weeks beginning with the day on which the question was served on him] or that his reply is evasive or equivocal, the court or tribunal may draw any inference from that fact that it considers it just and equitable to draw, including an inference that he committed an unlawful act.

(3) The Department may by order—

(a)prescribe the period within which questions must be duly served in order to be admissible under paragraph (2)(a); and

(b)prescribe the manner in which a question, and any reply by the respondent, may be duly served.

(4) County court rules may enable the court entertaining a claim under Article 54 to determine, before the date fixed for the hearing of the claim, whether a question or reply is admissible under this Article or not.

(5) This Article is without prejudice to any other statutory provision or rule of law regulating interlocutory and preliminary matters in proceedings before a county court or industrial tribunal, and has effect subject to any statutory provision or rule of law regulating the admissibility of evidence in such proceedings.

(6) In this Article “respondent” includes a prospective respondent.

F1SR 2003/341

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