What happens at a Tribunal hearing?

By Tolley and written by Anne Redston

The following Personal Tax guidance note by Tolley and written by Anne Redston provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • What happens at a Tribunal hearing?
  • Introduction
  • Before the hearing
  • On the day
  • The participants
  • Who sits where
  • Oaths
  • Courtesies
  • The order of events
  • Law, evidence and argument
  • Witnesses
  • Interrupting
  • The decision
  • Costs


This note outlines what happens at a Tribunal appeal hearing. Before you read this note you should read the Appealing an HMRC decision ― outline guidance note.

Remember that this guidance note and the other guidance notes on appealing to the Tribunal are only a summary; they do not cover all situations. You may need to take further advice in relation to your client’s appeal position. If your client’s appeal is to the Scottish First-tier Tribunal, the procedure may not be the same as that set out here. You are advised to take specialist advice.

Before the hearing

If you want to understand how to prepare for a hearing, read the Preparing for the appeal to the Tribunal guidance note. If you have never been to a Tribunal hearing before and you are now about to represent a client, you may want to observe a hearing. Almost all hearings are in public, so you can go to a main hearing centre, such as Taylor House, 88 Rosebery Avenue in London, Temple Court, Bull Street in Birmingham, or Alexandra House, Parsonage in Manchester.

Once you have arrived, you may need to locate the tax hearings within the building ― in Taylor House they are on the top floor, with immigration appeals on the lower floors. When you arrive at the waiting area for the tax hearings, at some point the clerk for the hearing (the person who manages all the arrangements for the hearing and makes sure it goes smoothly) is likely to come to the waiting area to talk to the parties. Explain that you are just observing and then sit quietly at the back of the Tribunal room. You can come and go when you like, but it is courteous to bow your head slightly to the Tribunal if you enter or leave when

More on Appeals and case tracker: