An oral hearing is not as formal as a court proceeding. What happens at an oral hearing depends on the circumstances of a particular appeal. This is what often happens.
All participants meet in the same room which generally has two tables in a T-shape. The vice chair sits at the top of the T at the front of the room. The appellant and their representative will sit on one side of a table. If there is a respondent participating, they and their representative will sit on the other side of the table. If there is an interpreter, they will usually sit beside the person for whom they are interpreting. Observers may also sit at the table if there is room. Witnesses will usually be asked to remain outside the hearing room until they give their evidence. For a Virtual Tour of our Richmond location .
The vice chair will introduce themselves and explain the hearing process, including the fact that we will record the oral hearing. Everyone else present will be asked to introduce themselves. The vice chair will identify the decision(s) under appeal and outline the issue(s) they raise.
The appellant or their representative will be asked to briefly state what they are asking us to do. The appellant then gives their evidence, that is, tells their story. The vice chair will ask them to give their evidence "under oath or affirmation." This means that they will either swear on a holy book or promise on their conscience to tell the truth.
The appellant's representative may ask them questions to help them tell their story. The respondent can then ask the appellant questions. The vice chair may also ask the appellant questions. After the appellant has given their evidence, the vice chair will invite their witnesses into the hearing room to answer their questions. The respondent and vice chair may ask the appellant's witnesses questions.
Then the respondent may give evidence and call witnesses. The appellant or their representative may then ask the respondent and their witnesses questions.
After everyone has presented evidence, the appellant or their representative will give their submission (argument). Your submission or argument should briefly summarize all the evidence that supports the outcome you want, refer to the unfavourable evidence, and explain why the favourable evidence is better. The appellant may also want to describe which WorkSafeBC policies they think apply to the appeal, and explain how they apply.
The respondent will then make their argument. After the respondent's argument, the appellant will have the chance to reply to anything new the respondent raised.