Tip 4: How to make a good impact with the Judge (oral hearing)


Why is this important?

  • An appeal hearing (by telephone, video or face-to-face) is stressful for anyone.
  • It is normal to feel anxious. Answering questions from a Judge, your own representative or a Home Office representative is different to telling your story to a friend.
  • You may be asked difficult questions. Some of these may even seem unfair or hostile.
  • Think about the tips before the hearing. They will help you make a good impact with the Judge.

Listen to the question:

  • This may sound obvious. But it is very important to listen carefully to any question you are asked.

Understand the question:

  • Make sure you understand the question, before you start talking. If you need a question to be repeated or explained, say this. Especially if you have a telephone hearing, when you cannot see the person talking to you.
  • If you have any problem understanding or using the Tribunal interpreter, tell the Judge as soon as possible. 

Answer the question:

  • Make sure you try to answer the question that is asked. Do not talk about something else, even if you think that is more important. If you do, the Judge may think you are avoiding the question you have been asked.
  • If you do not know an answer, you can say this. But try to explain why. If you might know an answer, do your best to answer the question but make clear to the Judge you are not 100% sure.

Speak slowly and clearly:

  • Avoid giving very long answers or talking quickly. The Judge and any representatives need to write your answers down. If there is an interpreter, they need to translate what you say.

Try not to be defensive:

  • It is easy to feel defensive if the Home Office representative asks you difficult questions.
  • If a Home Office question feels unfair, concentrate on giving your answer to the Judge. It may feel easier to give them a calm answer. The Judge is the person who must understand your story and evidence. 


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