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The Social Security (Recovery of Benefits) (Appeals) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1997

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Procedure at oral hearings

5.—(1) Except where paragraph (4) applies, not less than 7 days notice, beginning with the day on which the notice is given and ending on the day before the hearing, of the time and place of any oral hearing before a tribunal shall be given to every party to the proceedings, and if such notice has not been given to a person to whom it should have been given under the provisions of this paragraph the hearing may proceed only with the consent of that person.

(2) The chairman of a tribunal may give notice before or during an oral hearing for the determination at that hearing by the tribunal, in accordance with the provisions of these Regulations, of any question referred under Article 14 notwithstanding that a party to the proceedings has failed to indicate his availability for a hearing or to provide all the information which may have been requested, if the chairman is satisfied that such party—

(a)has failed to comply with a direction regarding his availability or requiring information under regulation 3(1)(b) or (c); and

(b)has not given any explanation for his failure to comply with such a direction,

provided that the chairman is satisfied that the tribunal has sufficient particulars in order for the question to be determined.

(3) The chairman of a tribunal may give notice before or during an oral hearing for the determination at that hearing by the tribunal, in accordance with the provisions of these Regulations, of any question where he believes the appeal on that ground has no reasonable prospect of success.

(4) Any party to the proceedings may waive his right to receive not less than 7 days notice of the time and place of any oral hearing as specified in paragraph (1).

(5) If a party to the proceedings to whom notice has been given under paragraph (1) fails to appear at the hearing the tribunal may, having regard to all the circumstances including any explanation offered for the absence and, where applicable, the circumstances set out in paragraph (2)(a) and (b), proceed with the hearing notwithstanding his absence, or give such directions with a view to the determination of any question referred to it as it may think proper.

(6) If a party to the proceedings has waived his right to be given notice under paragraph (4), the tribunal may proceed with the hearing notwithstanding his absence.

(7) Any oral hearing before a tribunal shall be in public except where the person making the appeal requests a private hearing or the chairman is satisfied that intimate personal or financial circumstances may have to be disclosed or that considerations of public security are involved, in which case the hearing shall be in private.

(8) At any oral hearing any party to the proceedings shall be entitled to be present and be heard.

(9) The following persons shall also be entitled to be present at an oral hearing (whether or not it is otherwise in private) but shall take no part in the proceedings—

(a)the President and any full-time chairman;

(b)any person undergoing training as a chairman or other member of a medical appeal tribunal or as a clerk to such a tribunal;

(c)any person acting on behalf of the President or the Department in the training or supervision of clerks to medical appeal tribunals or of officers of the Department;

(d)any person undergoing training as an officer of the Department; and

(e)with the leave of the chairman of the tribunal and the consent of every party to the proceedings actually present, any other person.

(10) Nothing in paragraph (9) affects the rights of any person mentioned in sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) of that paragraph at any oral hearing where he is sitting as a member of the tribunal or acting as its clerk, and nothing in this regulation prevents the presence at an oral hearing of any witness.

(11) Any person entitled to be heard at an oral hearing may address the tribunal, may give evidence, may call witnesses and may put questions directly to any other person called as a witness.

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