Source: Migration Review Tribunal (17 March 2014)
What is a hearing?
The hearing is an opportunity for you to give evidence and present arguments to the Tribunal relating to the issues arising in your case. The Tribunal may also take evidence from other persons.
Hearings are conducted by the Tribunal member allocated to your case. The Tribunal’s procedures are relatively informal, and the department is not represented. The member will guide the proceedings to suit the circumstances of the case, will ask questions and will give you an opportunity to make a statement or present arguments. The hearing may be conducted in person, by video conference or by telephone. Hearings in person may be conducted at a Tribunal office or in another suitable location.
Can I have someone assist me at the hearing?You may have another person present at the hearing to assist you. This may be your representative, if you have appointed a representative, or your sponsor or a family member. A person assisting you cannot in normal circumstances present oral arguments or formally address the Tribunal on your behalf. However, a person assisting you can give you advice or support and may be invited by the member to comment on specific matters
If you consider that the Tribunal should allow a person to present oral arguments or formally address the Tribunal on your behalf, you should contact the Tribunal prior to the hearing or raise the matter with the Tribunal at the start of the hearing. The Tribunal can only allow a person to speak on your behalf if there are exceptional circumstances.
Can I ask the Tribunal to obtain evidence?
You can ask the member to take oral or written evidence from other persons. You may also ask the member to obtain other written material. You may use the ‘Response to hearing invitation’ form (M19) to nominate persons you want the Tribunal to take oral evidence from. If any person is in immigration or criminal detention, you should advise the Tribunal immediately. You will need to arrange for any persons you nominate, who are not in immigration or criminal detention, to be available to give evidence.
The Tribunal will consider any request you make, but may decide not to obtain the evidence or documents. For example, the Tribunal may be satisfied on a particular point, or may not consider the evidence to be relevant to your case.
Can the Tribunal issue a summons?
The Tribunal has the power to formally summons a person to appear to give evidence or to produce documents. This power is generally only used in circumstances where a person may otherwise be unwilling or unable to attend the hearing or provide a document. You can request the Tribunal to issue a summons. The request must be in writing. If the member decides to issue a summons at your request, you are liable to pay the costs.
Am I required to take an oath or make an affirmation?
The Tribunal generally requires that all persons giving oral evidence will take an oath or make an affirmation to tell the truth. If an interpreter is assisting at the hearing, the interpreter is required to take an oath or make an affirmation that he or she will interpret to the best of his or her skills and abilities.
How long does a hearing take?
The duration of a hearing can vary greatly from some minutes to some hours, depending on the issues in the case. The Tribunal also conducts hearing lists in which several cases may be heard in a 2 hour period. The member may adjourn the hearing for a short break, or adjourn the hearing to another day. You may also ask for a short break if you need one.
Is the hearing open to the public?
Migration Review Tribunal hearings are generally open to the public. This means that family members or friends may observe the hearing, and there may be other persons present. Seating is limited and any person present must not interrupt or disturb the hearing. If the member considers it is the public interest to do so, the member may decide to conduct part or all of the hearing in private. You may ask the member to consider holding the hearing in private either before or during the hearing.
Is the hearing recorded?
All hearings are audio recorded. You may ask the Tribunal for a copy of the recording at the end of the hearing.
Will an interpreter be provided at the hearing?
If requested, the Tribunal will arrange for an interpreter to be at the hearing. The interpreter will be a qualified interpreter from an interpreter service – it is Tribunal policy not to use family members, friends or representatives as an interpreter. If you are not satisfied with the interpreting before or during the hearing, it is important that you tell the member or the hearing attendant as soon as possible.
What happens on the day of the hearing?
If the hearing is in person at a Tribunal office, you should report to the reception counter at least 15 minutes before the start of the hearing. Prior to the hearing, a hearing attendant will approach you and introduce himself or herself. The hearing attendant will check with you as to who will be attending the hearing and whether you have any documents which you wish to give to the Tribunal. When everything is ready, the hearing attendant will take you, with the interpreter or any other persons involved in the hearing, into the hearing room, and provide an explanation of the procedures.
When the hearing is ready to commence, the audio recording will be started and the Tribunal member will enter the room. The member will commence the hearing and administer an oath or affirmation to any person giving evidence, and to the interpreter. If the hearing is by video, you will be able to see and hear the member on the video screen, and the interpreter will usually be in the same location as the member. If you are having difficulty with hearing or seeing the member, or hearing the interpreter, you should inform the member or the hearing attendant as soon as possible.
If the hearing is by telephone, you will be contacted by the hearing attendant on the number you provided. The hearing attendant will explain the procedures. If at any time you have difficulty hearing the member, the interpreter or the hearing attendant, you should inform the member or hearing attendant as soon as possible.
What do I call the member?
The member may be addressed by name (e.g.: ‘Ms Smith’) or referred to as ‘Principal Member’, ‘Deputy Principal Member’, ‘Senior Member’, ‘Member’ (as appropriate) or as ‘the Tribunal’.
When will I get a decision?
As each case is different, it is difficult to say how long it will take for the Tribunal to make a decision in your case. In some cases, the member may announce the decision at the end of the hearing. However, in most cases a decision will not be made at the end of the hearing but will be given to you at a later date.
What if I cannot attend the scheduled hearing?
If you are not able to attend the scheduled hearing, you need to advise us as soon as possible. Please note that the Tribunal will only change this date if satisfied that you have a very good reason for being granted an adjournment. If you do not attend the scheduled hearing, the Tribunal may make a decision without taking any further action to allow or enable you to appear before it.
If you seek to adjourn your hearing for a medical reason, you must provide a doctor’s certificate that states you are not able to attend the scheduled hearing. If you cannot provide a medical certificate you must provide convincing reason for this. The member will consider the request and advise you of the outcome. If the Tribunal does not advise you that an adjournment has been granted, you must assume that the hearing will go ahead.If you are seeking more time to present information after the hearing you should advise the member at the hearing and provide strong reasons.