Giving Evidence from Abroad

In most cases, Hearings are virtual so you do not have to physically attend a Hearing but this does NOT mean that you can join the Hearing from abroad without asking for permission first.

The Health, Education and Social Care Chamber (HESC) Chamber issued interim guidance in May 2022 about giving oral evidence from abroad, which can be found in full here.  This is a small section of that interim guidance:

Permission is needed if a party proposes to give oral evidence from abroad

  1. The decision in Agbabiaka sets out the following:

“There has long been an understanding among Nation States that one State should not seek to exercise the powers of its courts within the territory of another, without having the permission of that other State to do so. Any breach of that understanding by a court or tribunal in the United Kingdom risks damaging this country’s diplomatic relations with other States and is, thus, contrary to the public interest.” (para 12.)

“Whenever the issue arises in a tribunal about the taking of evidence from outside the United Kingdom […] what the Tribunal needs to know is whether it may take such evidence without damaging the United Kingdom’s diplomatic relationship with the other country.” (para 19.)

“[…] it is not for this (or any other) tribunal to form its own view of what may, or may not, damage the United Kingdom’s relations with a foreign State.” (para 23.)

  1. The decision underlines that the giving of oral evidence from another nation state requires the permission of that State. Permission is not needed for written evidence, or for submissions (whether oral or written), although submissions are considered below.

Can a party make submissions from abroad, rather than give evidence?

Bearing in mind the nature of the proceedings in the Health, Education and Social Care Chamber (‘HESC’), and the jurisdictions it covers, the decision has been taken that there is too much risk that a litigant in person making oral submissions may stray into the giving of evidence. Therefore permission must be sought as a precaution by any party wishing to make submissions from abroad.