Guidance

Appeal to the Pathogens Access Appeals Commission

How to appeal if you're banned from accessing a laboratory or other facility containing dangerous substances on national security grounds.

What you can appeal

You can appeal to the Pathogens Access Appeals Commission if you are barred from a site where dangerous viruses, bacteria or toxic substances are kept or used.

The Home Office will write to you if you’re denied access, giving details of which premises you’re banned from under anti-terrorism legislation.

You have 6 months to appeal the decision after you receive the letter - but can ask for more time in exceptional circumstances.

The commission is independent of the government. A judge will listen to both sides of the argument before reaching a decision.

How to appeal

Write to the commission explaining the reasons for your appeal.

Send your letter to:

Pathogens Access Appeals Commission
15-25 Bream's Buildings
London
EC4A 1DZ

Email: siac.poacoffice@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk
Phone: 0300 123 1711
Fax: 020 7073 0347

You may need legal advice from a solicitor to help with your appeal.

How your case will be decided

The commission will look at your case if it thinks there may be a problem with the ban.

It will decide your case at a tribunal hearing with:

  • a senior judge and 2 other commission members, who will decide on your case
  • you and your lawyer
  • a lawyer from the Home Office

The commission will try to keep the hearing open to the public whenever possible.

However, you, your lawyer and anyone observing the hearing may have to leave the room if there is any secret evidence involving the security services.

If that happens, someone known as a ‘special advocate’ will be appointed to represent you when this evidence is presented.

The commission’s decision

The commission can uphold or overturn the ban.

If you disagree with its decision, you can appeal to a higher court:

  • Court of Appeal in England and Wales
  • Court of Session in Scotland
  • Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland

You can only appeal on a point of law - you may need legal advice if you want to take the case any further.

Legislation and rules

The Pathogens Access Appeals Commission was established under section 70 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001.

Schedule 5 of the act gives a full list of the pathogens and toxins.

Schedule 6 sets out the constitution and procedures for the commission.

More detailed rules are contained in The Pathogens Access Appeal Commission (Procedure) Rules 2002.