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9 April, 2020 Open access

Temporary amendments to tribunal procedure rules to mitigate against impact of COVID-19 on tribunal users and the judiciary

Changes made to the Tribunal Chambers' procedure rules to enable hearings on the papers without the parties' consent and for tribunals to conduct remote hearings in private in limited circumstances

New regulations have been issued that make temporary amendments to tribunal procedure rules to mitigate against the impact of COVID-19 on tribunal users and the judiciary.

In force from 10 April 2020, the Tribunal Procedure (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Rules 2020 (SI.No.416/2020) make temporary amendments to the procedure rules that apply in each Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal as part of emergency measures to mitigate against the impact of COVID-19 on tribunal users and the Judiciary during the coronavirus pandemic.

In relation to social security appeals, amendments to the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Social Entitlement Chamber) Rules 2008 (SI.No.2685/2008) and the Tribunal Procedure (Upper Tribunal) Rules 2008 (SI.No.2698/2008) provide for -

NB - the explanatory memorandum to the regulations provides further details of why the power to conduct private hearings is required -

‘The Coronavirus Act 2020 makes provision for the public to observe hearings that proceed via remote technology. However, a gap arises as the Act does not cover situations where that technology to access remote hearings is not available in a Court or Tribunal building … Therefore [these regulations] will allow the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal to direct remote cases to be heard in private if they cannot be broadcasted and accessed by the public, to ensure the proper administration of justice.’

SI.No.416/2020 is available from legislation.gov.uk