76.In relation to attendance at hearings, the Board will normally pay all reasonable travelling expenses, a subsistence allowance and, if a person takes time off work to attend a hearing, his or her loss of wages, as follows:
Travel expenses of the applicant by train or bus between his or her home and the hearing venue. Any more expensive method of travel should be approved by the Board in advance.
Travel expenses of any person who needs to come with the applicant because he or she cannot travel alone or needs their assistance or moral support at the hearing.
Travel expenses of any person who is giving oral evidence on behalf of the applicant (provided the Board has agreed beforehand that he or she needs to come to the hearing).
The wages or salary lost by the applicant, a person giving the applicant necessary assistance or a witness on behalf of the applicant, as a result of attending the hearing. Lost wages or salary means the actual net loss after deductions for tax and social welfare, and should be set out in a letter from the employer of the person concerned.
A subsistence allowance will normally be paid if the applicant is absent from home or otherwise stays at the hearing venue for more than five hours.
The cost of a baby-sitter or carer actually incurred (if supported by a letter from the sitter/carer confirming the payment).
Unless agreed beforehand, the Board will not pay for the expense of a witness from outside the State.
The Board will pay any expenses incurred by an applicant travelling to meet his or her solicitor for consultation purposes. The Board will consider claims for travel expenses incurred in attending medical appointments, counsellors and other professional advisers in connection with the applicant’s injuries or his or her application for redress; but it will be for the Board to decide what expenses will be allowed in respect of any individual applicant.
All claims for travel expenses should be submitted on the Expenses Form provided by the Board, and must be supported by appropriate receipts and tickets. All expenses will be paid at the end of the process; but if travelling expenses to the hearing are a problem an advance of the applicant’s cost of travel can be applied for during the four weeks leading up to the hearing.
77.Where the Board has permitted a relevant person to take part in a hearing, it may conduct the hearing in his or her absence if it is satisfied that the relevant person has given no reasonable excuse for non-attendance and that it would not in all the circumstances be contrary to the interests of justice to conduct the hearing in his or her absence.
Procedure at hearing
78.The Board will ensure, in so far as is practicable, that hearings are conducted as informally as is possible having regard to all the circumstances.
79.An application will be heard before a sitting of the Board consisting of a chairperson and at least one other member of the Board. Subject to the provisions of the Act and to any Regulations made by the Minister, the procedure to be followed at any particular hearing will be a matter for the Board members conducting that hearing. A written record will be made of the proceedings at the hearing.