Who will be at your hearing:
- the IAD member who will decide your appeal
- you and your counsel if you have one
- the Minister's counsel
- any witness that you have asked to testify or give evidence
- an interpreter if you or a witness needs one
designated representative if you need one
1. Remember to connect or arrive early
Make sure that you, your counsel, and your witnesses are ready to attend before the hearing starts. Your Notice to Appear will tell you what time you should attend. Make sure that you have all the documents you need.
2. The member will open the hearing
The IAD member will manage the hearing. If you do not have a counsel, the member will guide you through the process. However, the member does not represent you. They are neutral. They are focused on getting information from you and the Minister's counsel. This is so that the member can make a decision on your case.
3. You will testify
In most cases, you, as the appellant, will be the first to testify. Before you speak, the member will ask you to promise to tell the truth. If you wish, you can use your own holy book to swear upon.
If you have a counsel, they will ask you questions about your appeal. If you do not have a counsel, the member will ask you to tell your story and what you think is important in your appeal. The member can ask you questions needed to help decide your appeal at any time during the appeal hearing.
Then the Minister's counsel will ask you questions about the testimony you have just given. They can also ask questions about the documents in your appeal file. This is called cross-examination.
After the Minister's counsel asks their questions, your counsel may want to ask you more questions. This would be to clarify what you have said to the Minister's counsel. If you have no counsel, you may wish to speak for yourself.
4. Witnesses will testify
If you have witnesses, they will be asked to wait outside the hearing room until they are called to testify. If the hearing is held virtually, witnesses should not be in the same room or be able to hear you when you are testifying. When they join the hearing, the witnesses must also promise to tell the truth.
Your counsel will question your witnesses. If you do not have a counsel, you should be prepared to ask your witnesses questions. The member can ask your witnesses questions needed to help decide your appeal.
The Minister's counsel will also be able to ask your witnesses questions in cross-examination.
After the Minister's counsel asks their questions, you or your counsel will have one more opportunity to ask questions of your witness. But these questions would only be to clarify answers that the witness gave to the Minister's counsel.
5. Closing arguments
After all the witnesses have finished, the member will ask you or your counsel to make final
submissions. This means explaining why you think the evidence shows that the member should allow your appeal.
The Minister's counsel will also make submissions to explain their position. The Minister's counsel may ask that your appeal be dismissed. In some cases, the Minister's counsel may agree that your appeal should be allowed.
Closing arguments are usually made orally (spoken) at the end of the hearing. But sometimes the member asks for the arguments in writing after the hearing is finished. If this happens, the IAD will tell you how and when to provide your written submissions.