Hearing of the Appeal
At the hearing of my appeal, must I be represented by a lawyer?
A hearing before the Appeals Board is like a hearing in a court of law in many ways. In a number of appeals lodged with the Appeals Board, appellants engage a lawyer to give legal advice on their cases, and to make legal arguments before the Appeals Board. You may wish to engage a lawyer to advise and represent you in your appeal, especially if you are unsure about how to present your case, or if you are of the view that a lawyer may be better able to present the relevant legal arguments in your favour. However, if you do not have a lawyer, you may appear before the Appeals Board to present your case in person. The Act provides that the onus of proving that an award of compensation is inadequate is on you, the appellant.
What is the procedure at the hearing of my appeal?
The procedure at the hearing of any proceedings shall be such as Appeals Board may determine, subject to the following:
(a) at the hearing, you shall begin, and if you fail to make out a case, on the face of the material presented, that the Collector of Land Revenue’s award is inadequate, the Appeals Board may dismiss the appeal without calling the Collector of Land Revenue, and may make such order as to costs as may be just; and
(b) the Appeals Board shall take note of all evidence and exhibits put in evidence at the hearing.
(Regulation 11(1) of the Land Acquisition (Appeals Board) Regulations)(12 KB).
What is the constitution of the Appeals Board?
For the purpose of determining appeals in respect of any award made by the Collector of Land Revenue under the Land Acquisition Act, where an appeal is against an award of:
(a) $250,000 or more, the Appeals Board shall consist of the Commissioner sitting with two persons selected by the Commissioner from a panel of assessors appointed by the Minister for Law; or
(b) less than $250,000, the Appeals Board shall consist of the Commissioner either sitting alone, or if the Commissioner thinks fit, with two persons selected by the Commissioner from a panel of assessors appointed by the Minister for Law.
(Section 26(1) of the Land Acquisition Act).
When the amount of the compensation has been settled and there is a dispute as to the apportionment of the compensation, the Commissioner sitting alone shall decide the proportions in which the persons claiming an interest in the compensation to be made on account of an acquisition of land under the Land Acquisition Act shall be entitled to.
(Section 38(1) of the Land Acquisition Act).
What orders may the Appeals Board make upon the hearing of an appeal?
The Appeals Board may confirm, reduce, increase or annul the award by the Collector of Land Revenue, or make such order(s) as it deems fit.
(Section 27(3) of the Land Acquisition Act).
What happens on the date of the appeal hearing?
By the time your appeal is fixed for hearing before the Appeals Board, directions would have been given by the Registrar at pre-hearing conferences for exchange of expert reports, witness statements, and/or written submissions, if required. On the date of the hearing, you or your lawyer will be entitled to raise the appropriate arguments in support of your case. The Collector of Land Revenue will be called upon to respond to the arguments made by you or your lawyer.
If you fail to make out a case to show on the face of your case that the Collector of Land Revenue’s award is inadequate, the Appeals Board may dismiss the appeal without calling upon the Collector of Land Revenue to make submissions (Regulations 11(2) of the Land Acquisition (Appeals Board) Regulations(12KB)).
After hearing all the arguments made, the Appeals Board will then give its written decision on whether to confirm, reduce, increase or annul the award, or make such order as it deems fit.
Under Regulation 12 of the Land Acquisition (Appeals Board) Regulations, if you or the Collector of Land Revenue does not appear at the hearing of your appeal, the Appeals Board may, as it thinks fit, dismiss or allow your appeal and make such order as to costs as may be just.
If you are unable to attend your appeal hearing by reason of sickness or other reasonable cause, you should inform the Appeals Board at least five days prior to the date of your appeal hearing that you will be absent for the hearing and the reason for your absence. The Appeals Board may adjourn the hearing for hearing at a later date if it is satisfied that you are unable to attend by reason of sickness or other reasonable cause (see Regulation 10(3) of the Land Acquisition (Appeals Board) Regulations(12.1KB)).
Do take note that a decision made in your absence by the Appeals Board may be set aside and your appeal may be reinstated only if you make an application within 7 days of its decision and prove to the satisfaction of the Appeals Board that you had sufficient reasons for your absence.