The decision to hold a hearing by video could be for several reasons and is made by the members of the Tribunal. The registrar will tell you if this is happening and what platform will be used. If the Tribunal decides to hold a hearing on the basis of the papers before it, no parties need to attend the hearing.
Tribunal hearings are usually open to the public to attend, except where they are on paper or in private. Any member of public wishing to attend a hearing held by video must contact the Adjudication Panel for Wales by email email@example.com 5 working days prior to the hearing date to obtain a link to the hearing. Their request for a link will then be considered and further information provided.
If the hearing is being conducted virtually by video, the Tribunal will tell you what video platform is being used. When you know the platform, follow the appropriate link and guidance on joining the video hearing and testing your equipment. A test session will be provided before the hearing so that you can familiarise yourself with the virtual hearing room.
Before your hearing
You should tell the Tribunal what telephone number or email address we should use to contact you for the hearing.
You should also ask the Tribunal for any special arrangements or measures that would help you feel comfortable to take part in the hearing.
Before the hearing you must:
- check you have the latest internet browser, preferably Google Chrome
- read the guidance sent to you on how to join the hearing
- test your equipment using the platform testing instructions and attend the test session, so you know it works as it may otherwise delay or disrupt the hearing
- tell us immediately if you have any issues joining the platform or testing your equipment by contacting the registrar to the panel.
The Tribunal will consider your needs and do everything possible to make sure you’ll be able to participate in the hearing.
If you are a witness, please ensure that you have completed the necessary forms and returned them to the Panel via post or e-mail, preferably by e-mail. Please inform the registrar as soon as possible if you require any support you may need, including any translation services.
Have someone support you during your hearing
You can ask for someone to provide support to you during your telephone or video hearing. They could be part of a charitable organisation, local government service, a friend or family member. They cannot be someone involved in the case.
You will need to ask the permission of the Tribunal for them to join. They cannot give legal advice or speak on your behalf but can provide emotional support and practical information about the process.
Choose where to be for the hearing
Before the hearing you must:
- choose a space that is quiet and private avoiding any background noise
- let people who share the space know that you must not be interrupted during the hearing
We know that people with disabilities sometimes need additional support. This can mean that we need to provide something different so you can access and use our services in the same way as a person without a disability. We often call this a reasonable adjustment.
If you need a reasonable adjustment, tell us using by emailing or phoning the registrar.
Make sure you have all your documents
Contact the Tribunal, or speak to your legal representative, to check that you have easy access to all the documents that you will need on the day.
If documents need to be shared on the day, the registrar will tell you how you can share or receive them.
The day of your hearing
Prepare for your telephone or video hearing
Be ready at least 20 minutes before the hearing and make sure you have:
- fully charged or plugged in the device you are using to join the hearing
- any documents you’ll need for the hearing ready including access to the hearing bundle
- your preferred holy book or scripture to swear an oath on (if applicable)
- a glass of water (if needed)
- removed from the space anything else that could be distracting, such as a mobile phone (unless you are using it for the hearing)
You should also:
- dress as if you were coming into a court or tribunal building
- something plain behind you, like a blank wall
- sit with light in front of you, so your face is not in shadow
- make sure we can see your face and shoulders
During the hearing
Video hearings follow the same process as they would be in a court or tribunal building.
At the start of the hearing, the Tribunal Chair will explain what will happen. They may ask you questions to make sure you’ve understood. It’s important that if you do not understand something you let them know.
If you are giving evidence during the hearing you will be asked to swear an oath or make a legally binding promise (known as an affirmation) that your evidence will be true. There is no need to use a holy book or scripture unless you wish to.
Your role in the hearing
To avoid disrupting the hearing, mute your microphone if possible, so the Tribunal does not hear background noise or conversation. You may be automatically muted, depending on the platform being used.
If joining by video, remember you’ll be seen on screen and should be mindful of your body language and behaviour, whether you’re speaking or not.
You may ask the Chair of the Tribunal if you need something repeated that you did not follow or understand.
When you are speaking, remember to make sure your microphone is not muted and speak clearly.
You may ask the Chair of the Tribunal if you need to take a break during your hearing.
Rules of the hearing
The Chair of the Tribunal will instruct at the start of the hearing the process and the rules during the hearing, you must treat the telephone and/or video hearings as serious as if they were in an actual court or tribunal building.
During the hearing you must
- only drink water
- not eat
- not smoke or use e-cigarettes
- follow the court or tribunal’s instructions
- be alone unless you have permission otherwise
It is a criminal offence to record the hearing’s video or sound yourself, or take photos or screen shots.
At the end of your hearing
The Tribunal may leave the telephone or video call for periods of time to discuss and deliberate before coming to their decision. This may mean that you will need to leave the hearing for a while before reconvening. The Tribunal Chair will inform you if this is the case.
A verbal decision will be provided on the day and a notice of decision will be sent to you by post or email afterwards, followed in due course by a full decision report.
The Tribunal Chair will tell you when the hearing is over and when you can leave.