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FTT guidance on oral evidence from abroad

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The First-tier Tax Tribunal (FTT) has published guidance for judges and parties in proceedings in the FTT about the procedure to be followed when a party to a case wishes to rely on oral evidence given by video or telephone by someone who is outside the UK. 

The guidance notes that the recent decision in Agbabiaka [2021] UKUT 286 (IAC) states that a party wishing to rely on oral evidence from a witness in a nation state other than the UK must contact the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s new Taking of Evidence Unit (ToE). The guidance explains that, in order to make the process as efficient and user-friendly as possible, HM Courts & Tribunal’s Service will contact the ToE on behalf of any party who notifies the tax chamber that they want to give or rely on oral evidence from a person abroad, so all that that party needs to do is notify the tax chamber of: the name of that person; the country the person would be giving evidence from; and what the evidence would be about.

As it can take months to receive a response to an enquiry via an embassy or high commission, the guidance suggests notifying the tax chamber as soon as it is apparent that oral evidence from a witness abroad may be needed. It is a matter for judicial discretion as to whether the listing of a case should be delayed to allow such enquiries to proceed, or should continue to be further delayed to allow such enquiries to be concluded. If delay becomes an issue, the tribunal may need to consider alternatives to oral evidence being given from the foreign country.

Issue: 1574
Categories: News