In its original guidance published in April 2022, the First-tier Tribunal confirmed that it will inform a new Taking of Evidence Unit (ToE) of any proposal to use oral evidence from abroad in a case.
This allows the ToE to check whether the related overseas government has any objections.
The Tax Faculty explained that the information to be provided by a party to the case to the tribunal included:
- the name of the person that they want to give oral evidence from abroad;
- the country that the person would be giving evidence from; and
- what the evidence would be about.
The updated guidance sets out the following additional information to be provided to the tax chamber administration team:
- the applicable time zone and time difference between the UK and the country from which the evidence would be given;
- confirmation that the proposed witness has access to the facilities (computer, broadband etc) to give evidence remotely by video or telephone;
- a witness statement from the proposed witness containing their detailed written evidence relating to the issues in dispute in the proceedings.
The guidance also confirms that this information should be provided at least eight weeks before the date of any hearing at which the evidence will be given. A copy should also be given to the other party to the case.
The other party should respond within 14 days of the application to indicate what (if any) aspects of the evidence provided remains in dispute, and whether any such matters can be resolved without the need for oral evidence to be given from abroad. If no aspect of the evidence of the witness is in dispute, it will usually be appropriate for the tribunal to refuse permission to rely on the proposed oral evidence.
Once the necessary information has been provided, the tribunal will contact the ToE to ascertain whether the Nation State concerned objects to the oral evidence being given from its territory. If the ToE does not already hold information on the country in question, the ToE will raise an enquiry with the British Embassy or British High Commission in that country.
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