Section 12 of the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act (CVCA) requires the CICB to hold public hearings. Section 12 grants the CICB the discretion to close the hearing in two specific circumstances.
12. All hearings shall be held in public except where, in the opinion of the Board, it is necessary to hold a hearing that is closed to the public for the reason that a public hearing,
(a) would be prejudicial to the final disposition of the criminal proceedings against the person whose act or omission caused the injury or death; or
(b) would not be in the interests of the victim, or of the dependents of the victim, of an alleged sexual offence or child abuse.
In addition, section 9(1) of the Statutory Powers Procedures Act (SPPA) permits the CICB to close all or part of a hearing where the CICB is of the opinion that:
(a) matters involving public security may be disclosed; or
(b) intimate financial or personal matters or other matters may be disclosed at the hearing of such a nature, having regard to the circumstances, that the desirability of avoiding disclosure thereof in the interests of any person affected or in the public interest outweighs the desirability of adhering to the principle that hearings be open to the public
These provisions are incorporated into the CICB’s Rules of Procedure.
Members of the public attending a CICB hearing are expected to check in with reception on arrival. Where possible, reception staff will alert the adjudicator that a member of the public is attending the hearing.
The adjudicator may ask persons in the hearing room to identify themselves and their connection, if any, to the parties or their interest in the proceeding. Media representatives may attend the hearing and may report on the proceeding subject to the terms of any publication ban. The adjudicator may wish to alert the applicant about the possibility of media coverage when a reporter is present.
The adjudicator will instruct members of the public to remain silent throughout the hearing and limit going in and out of the hearing room while the hearing is in session to avoid disturbances that may be distracting or disruptive to the proceedings.
Seating for the public is limited by the size of the hearing room. Seating cannot be reserved and is available on a first come, first served basis.
Where a publication ban is in effect the adjudicator must ensure it is brought to the attention of the public, including any media representatives, attending the hearing. The adjudicator must ensure everyone in attendance is aware of the specific terms of the publication ban (for example no identification of witnesses or parties).
Section 9(2) of the SPPA grants the CICB the authority to make orders necessary for maintenance of order at a hearing. Section 23(1) of the SPPA provides the CICB with the power to make orders to prevent the abuse of its processes.
Filming or photographing a hearing room is not permitted. This includes filming through open hearing room doors or through windows in hearing room doors. Cameras, including television cameras and other video recording devices, are not allowed in any hearing rooms during the hearing.
Laptop computers are permitted if used solely for purpose of note-taking. Notes of the hearing may only be used as an aid to memory and for no other purpose. The CICB may permit a party to record the hearing as a Human Rights Code accommodation on the condition the recording is used only by party as an aid to memory and for no other purpose.
The public may take their cell phones with them into the hearing room; however phones must be turned off and never used in the hearing room. Cell phones with camera features may not be used to take pictures. Parties and public are not permitted to “live tweet” from the hearing room.
Media may not hold interviews in the CICB hearing location. Interviews of parties or participants must be conducted off the CICB’s premises. Where hearings are held in non-government buildings, requests to film or interview in the building’s lobby or other spaces must be made to building management. The media may ask to film CICB/SJTO signage or building/hearing centre entrance. All inquiries from the media should be directed to the CICB’s Issues Management Coordinator or the SJTO Communications Lead.