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Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2005

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Directions in preparation for a hearing and determination of preliminary issues

31.—(1) The President may, on the application of a party or on his own motion, at any time before the hearing give such directions on any matter arising in connection with the proceedings as appear to him to be appropriate, including such directions as are provided in regulations 33 and 34 to enable the parties to prepare for the hearing or to assist the tribunal to determine the issues.

(2) An application by a party for directions shall be made in writing to the Secretary of the Tribunal and, unless it is accompanied by the written consent of the other party, shall be served by the Secretary of the Tribunal on that other party. If the other party objects to the directions sought, the President shall consider the objection and, if he considers it necessary for the determination of the application, shall give the parties an opportunity of appearing before him.

(3) If in the opinion of the President there would not be a reasonable time before a hearing of which notice has been given under regulation 38 to comply with a direction for which a party applies, he shall refuse the application.

(4) A direction shall—

(a)include a statement of the possible consequences for the appeal or the claim, as provided by regulation 35, of a party’s failure to comply with the requirement within the time allowed by the President;

(b)if made under regulation 34, contain a reference to the fact that, under Article 23(5) and (6) of the 1996 Order in respect of an appeal or under Article 23(7) and (8) of the 2005 Order in respect of a claim, any person who without reasonable cause fails to comply with requirements regarding disclosure or inspection of documents shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale; and

(c)unless the person to whom the direction is addressed had an opportunity to object to the direction, or he gave his written consent to the application for it, contain a statement to the effect that the person may apply to the President under regulation 32 to vary or set aside the direction.

(5) Where in accordance with regulation 37—

(a)the President orders that an appeal be heard together with a claim the directions given under paragraph (1) shall relate to the appeal only; but in giving such directions the President may consider whether it is in the interests of the efficient disposal of the appeal and the claim, and in the interests of the parties, that the directions given with respect to the appeal are the same as, or similar to those given in the claim.

(b)the President orders that a claim be heard together with an appeal the directions given under paragraph (1) shall relate to the claim only; but in giving such directions the President may consider whether it is in the interests of the efficient disposal of the claim and the appeal, and in the interests of the parties, that the directions given with respect to the claim are the same as, or similar to, those given in the appeal.

(6) Where it appears to the President that there is an issue in the appeal or the claim, as the case may be, which must be determined prior to the substantive hearing of either the appeal or the claim, he may direct the parties to appear before him.

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