The Tribunal has issued a Practice Note dated 18th January 2010, dealing with the protection of confidential information under the new rules of procedure.

The Note needs to be read in conjunction with the new rules of procedure (discussed in our earlier post here).  The relevant rules are set out in the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal)(General Regulatory Chamber) Rules 2009 (SI 2009/1976) as modified by the Tribunal Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2010 (SI 2010/43)

The Practice Note indicates that the Tribunal will maintain its previous practice, that disputed information (i.e. the information sought by a requester but withheld by a public authority) will not usually be disclosed to the requester in the course of appeal proceedings before the Tribunal. This may mean that a party is excluded from part of the Tribunal hearing.  The Practice Note refers to rule 35 of the new Rules as providing a basis for exclusion.

The Practice Note also includes guidance about the format of witness statements (see paragraph 22) and the contents of bundles (see paragraph 25).