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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

How to do a compliance check: preparing notices for presentation at tribunal: at the tribunal

You should arrive at the tribunal venue in plenty of time. Once you have arrived, the clerk will let you know the running order of the cases and what time your case will be heard and which room to go to.

The tribunal panel is made up of a judge and/or non-legally qualified members. The number on the panel may vary. See ARTG8030.

The tribunal hearing takes place in a formal setting. For example, a ‘top’ table for the judge and/or members of the tribunal and other tables facing the top table for HMRC and the appellant and/or their representative. Further tables at the sides accommodate the clerk and a witness stand (if necessary).

When the judge and/or members enter the room, you must stand up, look at the judge and/or members, and bow your head. If the judge and/or members are already in the room, you may not be required to bow. Sit only when, or after, the judge and/or members do.

Jackets should not be removed unless the judge indicates that you can do so.

You must always address the judge and/or members when speaking. Judges can be addressed as Judge (+ surname) or Sir/Ma’am.

During the tribunal the judge and/or members may adjourn (or ask all other parties to leave the room) to discuss the case in private.

The judge and/or members may also adjourn at the conclusion of the hearing to discuss the case. They will then return and tell you whether they have been able to make their decision. If so, the judge will announce their decision. If the notice is granted, the judge and/or members will sign the three copies of the notice you provided.

If they are unable to make a decision on the day they will write to you with their decision at a later date. However, in most cases the tribunal decides Schedule 36 applications on the day.

It is for HMRC to communicate the decision to the appellant, usually by sending a covering letter with the signed information notice.