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2.4 Place and Duration of Hearings
The notice of hearing indicates the date, time and place of the hearing. Some problems may occur with respect to these matters, as we have seen, as well as the duration. These questions must be assessed in light of natural justice.
Since the board is a tribunal, the room where it sits must be adequate and sometimes sufficiently large to accommodate in comfort those who are interested and likely to testify. In one case, it was found that a hearing room that was too small limited the right to a fair hearing.369 Citation 369
The choice of location where the appeal will be heard has a certain importance: "boards of referees may take into account in their decisions the particular circumstances of a community. . . ."370 Citation 370 It seems that a claimant may request that the case be heard in another location. However, if this request is accepted, the claimant may not later complain about it.
As far as the duration of the hearing is concerned, it must be sufficiently long so that it is possible to talk about a fair hearing in light of the characteristics of administrative justice: "the hearing takes place quickly and without formality".371 Citation 371 Thus, the fact that the board has limited the duration of a hearing to 10 minutes may not in itself be criticized when the appellant has wilfully failed to adduce certain evidence.372 Citation 372 The duration of a fair hearing may depend on the complexity of a case and the importance of the evidence the parties are entitled to present. Under a well-established practice, cases that do not involve particular problems are scheduled for a hearing that may last approximately one hour. It is recommended, however, that in his or her comments the chairperson not set out rigid limits since this could help to upset the parties.373 Citation 373 The boards are certainly "subject to time constraints" and may impose time limits, albeit not without "informing the parties ahead of time".374 Citation 374 A claimant should not be deprived of reasonable time to bring testimonial evidence even if he or she has provided the board with a written statement.375 Citation 375 The board must sometime be patient and not shorten unduly the debates.376 Citation 376 It may put an end to repetitive arguments or arguments of a doubtful relevance.377 Citation 377