Proscribed Organisations Tribunal guidance
The Proscribed Organisations Appeals Commission (POAC) was created by the Terrorism Act 2000. It deals with appeals in cases where the Secretary of State for the Home Department refuses to de-proscribe organisations believed to be involved in terrorism or change an order specifying an organisation’s alternative name (Section 22 of the 2006 Act). Proscribed organisations are listed in Schedule 2 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
At any sitting of the Commission, the panel consists of three members, one of whom is a High Court Judge.
POAC hearings are heard in open court, however the judge can decide to hear evidence in closed sessions. In this case the appellant and his representative, as well as any members of the public, will be asked to leave the room. POAC cases may be held under anonymity orders so that individuals cannot be named.
The Secretary of State may wish to rely on material which he or she objects to disclosing to the appellant or his representative for reasons of national security or public interest. In such cases, Paragraph 7 of Schedule 3 of the Terrorism Act 2000 means that the Attorney General will appoint a Special Advocate to represent the interests of the appellant.
Rules 9 and 10 of the POAC Procedure Rules 2007 set out the functions of a Special Advocate, namely to cross examine witnesses, make written submissions and to make submissions at any hearings from which the appellant has been excluded.
The Secretary of State must apply to POAC for permission to withhold material. The Special Advocate may challenge this and POAC will rule on the matter.
Onward appeal against POAC decisions is to the Court of Appeal on points of law if the first appeal was heard in England or Wales, to the Court of Session if the first appeal was heard in Scotland, or to the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland if the first appeal was heard in Northern Ireland. The special advocate system can operate in Courts of Appeal although, given that these appeals are on points of law, it is less likely to be necessary.
All enquiries in relation to POAC can be made via the administrative team responsible for managing cases before the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC).
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