Adjournments in the Torture Claims Appeal Board due to covid-19

Rachel Li made this Freedom of Information request to Security Bureau

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Dear Security Bureau,

I am writing to request the following information:

(1) The number of TCAB/NRCPO appeal hearings adjourned, as per month since January 2020;

(2) Of (1), the number of adjournments that were caused by public health concerns and/or otherwise due to the outbreak of COVID-19, as broken down by each month;

(3) Of (2), the number of adjournments that have at this time: (a) not been relisted for hearing; (b) in any case were adjourned for a period exceeding 3 months;.

(4) Whether the Security Bureau or the TCAB/ NRCPO have developed any policy, relevant guidelines or procedures to ensure TCAB hearings are not unnecessarily delayed since the outbreak of COVID-19 in January 2020? What, if any, consideration has been given to potentially conducting virtual hearings as per the Chief Justice's statement on 25 March 2020, regarding the use of video-conferencing facilities or telephone hearings?

Thank you very much.

Regards,
Rachel Li

Security Bureau

Dear Ms Li,

Our Bureau has received your application for access to information on 17
August 2020.  Your application is now under processing.  According to
paragraph 1.16 of the Code on Access to Information, our Bureau will
inform you of the latest progress of the case separately on or before 4
September 2020.  In the meantime, please contact me at 3106 3749 if you
have any questions.  Thank you.

Regards,
Manyi Wong
Security Bureau

From:        Rachel Li <[FOI #495 email]>
To:        FOI requests at Security Bureau <[Security Bureau request email]>,
Date:        17/08/2020 08:42
Subject:        Freedom of Information request - Adjournments in the
Torture Claims Appeal Board due to covid-19

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Dear Security Bureau,

I am writing to request the following information:

(1) The number of TCAB/NRCPO appeal hearings adjourned, as per month since
January 2020;

(2) Of (1), the number of adjournments that were caused by public health
concerns and/or otherwise due to the outbreak of COVID-19, as broken down
by each month;  

(3) Of (2), the number of adjournments that have at this time: (a) not
been relisted for hearing; (b) in any case were adjourned for a period
exceeding 3 months;.

(4) Whether the Security Bureau or the TCAB/ NRCPO have developed any
policy, relevant guidelines or procedures to ensure TCAB hearings are not
unnecessarily delayed since the outbreak of COVID-19 in January 2020?
 What, if any, consideration has been given to potentially conducting
virtual hearings as per the Chief Justice's statement on 25 March 2020,
regarding the use of video-conferencing facilities or telephone hearings?

Thank you very much.

Regards,
Rachel Li

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This is a request under the Code of Access to Information facilitated via
the accessinfo.hk website.

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[FOI #495 email]

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to Security Bureau? If so, please contact us using this form:
[1]https://accessinfo.hk/en/change_request/...

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Security Bureau

Dear Ms Li,

I refer to your email dated 17 August 2020 requesting for provision of the
following information -

(a)        the number of hearings of the Torture Claims Appeal
Board/Non-refoulement Claims Petition Office's ("the Board") adjourned per
month since January 2020;
(b)        out of (a) above, the number of adjournments that were caused
by public health concerns and/or otherwise due to the outbreak of
COVID-19, as broken down by each month;
(c)        out of (b) above, the number of adjournments that (i) have not
been relisted for hearing; (ii) in any case were adjourned for a period
exceeding 3 months; and
(d)        whether the Security Bureau or the Board have developed any
policy, relevant guidelines or procedures to ensure the Board's hearings
are not unnecessarily delayed since the outbreak of COVID-19 in January
2020; and whether consideration has been given to potentially conducting
virtual hearings as per the Chief Justice's statement on 25 March 2020,
regarding the use of video-conferencing facilities or telephone hearings.

On (a) to (c) above, we do not have information on the number of hearings
adjourned since January 2020.  Pursuant to paragraph 1.14 of the Code on
Access to Information, we are not able to provide you with the requested
information.

As for (d) above, please note that -

(i)        The Board strives to deal with appeals/petitions expeditiously.
 In scheduling hearings, the Board will take into account of all relevant
factors, including the on-going COVID-19 condition and the
announcements/directions made by the Government from time to time
regarding the special work arrangement for its employees, etc.  Due regard
will also be given to the urgency of individual cases, the health, safety
and welfare of all parties involved.  In addition, the Board has put in
place various infection control measures in order that hearings will not
be delayed unnecessarily during the outbreak of COVID-19.

(ii)        The Board is an independent statutory body established under
section 37ZQ of the Immigration Ordinance (Cap. 115) and thus, the Chief
Justice's statement on 25 March 2020 regarding the use of
video-conferencing facilities or telephone hearings is not applicable to
the Board.  Having said that, virtual hearings is under consideration by
the Board, bearing in mind the upmost importance of preserving the privacy
of the appellants/petitioners before the Board.  Other issues such as
information security, technical feasibility, the effectiveness of
cross-examination during virtual hearings, costs, etc. will also be taken
into consideration in this matter.

Regards,
Manyi Wong
Security Bureau

From:        SB-AIOREQ/SB/HKSARG
To:        Rachel Li <[FOI #495 email]>,
Date:        20/08/2020 12:08
Subject:        Re: Freedom of Information request - Adjournments in the
Torture Claims Appeal Board due to covid-19

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Ms Li,

Our Bureau has received your application for access to information on 17
August 2020.  Your application is now under processing.  According to
paragraph 1.16 of the Code on Access to Information, our Bureau will
inform you of the latest progress of the case separately on or before 4
September 2020.  In the meantime, please contact me at 3106 3749 if you
have any questions.  Thank you.

Regards,
Manyi Wong
Security Bureau

From:        Rachel Li <[FOI #495 email]>
To:        FOI requests at Security Bureau <[Security Bureau request email]>,
Date:        17/08/2020 08:42
Subject:        Freedom of Information request - Adjournments in the
Torture Claims Appeal Board due to covid-19

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Security Bureau,

I am writing to request the following information:

(1) The number of TCAB/NRCPO appeal hearings adjourned, as per month since
January 2020;

(2) Of (1), the number of adjournments that were caused by public health
concerns and/or otherwise due to the outbreak of COVID-19, as broken down
by each month;  

(3) Of (2), the number of adjournments that have at this time: (a) not
been relisted for hearing; (b) in any case were adjourned for a period
exceeding 3 months;.

(4) Whether the Security Bureau or the TCAB/ NRCPO have developed any
policy, relevant guidelines or procedures to ensure TCAB hearings are not
unnecessarily delayed since the outbreak of COVID-19 in January 2020?
 What, if any, consideration has been given to potentially conducting
virtual hearings as per the Chief Justice's statement on 25 March 2020,
regarding the use of video-conferencing facilities or telephone hearings?

Thank you very much.

Regards,
Rachel Li

-------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a request under the Code of Access to Information facilitated via
the accessinfo.hk website.

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[FOI #495 email]

Is [Security Bureau request email] the wrong address for Freedom of Information requests
to Security Bureau? If so, please contact us using this form:
[1]https://accessinfo.hk/en/change_request/...

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[2]https://accessinfo.hk/en/help/officers

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

References

Visible links
1. https://accessinfo.hk/en/change_request/...
2. https://accessinfo.hk/en/help/officers