80.All hearings are in private. If an applicant is legally represented, the Board will permit a close relative of the applicant or other appropriate person to be present at the hearing only where his or her presence is considered by the Board to be necessary for the purposes of the hearing. Where an applicant is not legally represented, the Board will normally permit him or her to bring a family member or friend to sit with the applicant during the hearing, but only for the purpose of providing moral support.
In either case, any such permission will be on the strict understanding that neither the identity of the applicant nor any evidence or material relating to the application will be disclosed in any way to any other person.
81.Subject to the provisions of the Act and of any regulations made by the Minister, the Board is entitled to determine the manner in which evidence in relation to any matter may be given. The Board will not necessarily be bound by the formal rules of evidence which apply in civil proceedings; but any person giving oral evidence to the Board at a hearing will be required to do so on oath or affirmation.
82.For the purposes of determining an application for redress, the Board may make provision for the taking of evidence on commission in any case where –
(i)the applicant or a person who is to give evidence on behalf of the applicant, or
(ii)a relevant person or a person who is to give evidence on behalf of a relevant person,
is unable for a reason deemed sufficient by the Board to attend the hearing of the application. Where evidence is taken on commission, an applicant and a relevant person will have the same right of cross-examination as they have at a hearing of the application.
Evidence and submissions by or on behalf of the applicant
83.An applicant may give oral evidence at a hearing in support of his or her application. Where an applicant has provided written evidence in support of his or her application, the Board may require him or her to give oral evidence on any matter relevant to the application. The Board may hear any other oral evidence for or on behalf of the applicant which it considers appropriate. The Board cannot compel a person to give evidence, with the result that it is a matter for the applicant to make the necessary arrangements for a person to attend the hearing with a view to giving evidence on his or her behalf. Witnesses other than the applicant will not be necessary to prove matters not flagged as live issues in the completion letter sent prior to the listing of the case for hearing.
84.Where an application is made on behalf of a person who has died since 11 May 1999 the Board may permit the spouse or children of the deceased person to give oral evidence in respect of the identity of the deceased, his or her residence in an institution and the abuse suffered by him or her. In addition, the Board will have regard to any appropriate medical reports or other evidence submitted on behalf of the deceased person.
85.An applicant and any person giving evidence on his or her behalf may be asked questions by the Board, by counsel or solicitor for the Board or, subject to the provisions of section 11(8) of the Act, by the legal representative of a relevant person.
86.The Board may hear counsel or solicitor for an applicant in respect of any matter before it.