Rules 18-29

Article 1905 Special Committees

Hearings

18. (1) At least one hearing shall be held before the special committee presents its initial report.

(2) The date and time of hearings shall be fixed by the special committee in consultation with the involved Parties and the responsible Secretary.

(3) A verbatim transcript shall be taken of all hearings.

19. Unless the involved Parties otherwise agree, special committee hearings shall take place at the offices of the responsible Secretariat.

20. (1) All special committee members must be present during hearings.

(2) No later than five days before the date of a hearing, each involved Party shall deliver to the responsible Secretariat and to the other involved Party a list of the names of the persons who will present oral arguments at the hearing on behalf of that Party and of other representatives or advisers of the Party who will be attending the hearing.

21. Oral proceedings shall be conducted in the following order, ensuring that each involved Party is given equal time:

(a) the argument of the Complaining Party;

(b) the argument of the Responding Party;

(c) a reply of the Complaining Party; and

(d) a counter-reply of the Responding Party.

22. At the request of an involved Party or at the initiative of the special committee, with the agreement of both involved Parties and subject to such terms and conditions as both involved Parties may agree upon, the special committee may call upon any person to provide information concerning the matter in dispute.

Language of Proceedings

23. Written and oral proceedings may be in either English, French or Spanish, or in any combination thereof.

24. Unless the involved Parties otherwise agree, the reports, findings, determinations and decisions of a special committee shall be issued in an official language of the Responding Party and, if necessary, shall be promptly translated into an official language of the other involved Party.

Special Committee Deliberations

25. (1) The deliberations of a special committee shall take place in private and remain confidential.

(2) Only special committee members may take part in the deliberations of a special committee.

(3) Staff of the involved Secretariats, assistants to the special committee members and any necessary support staff may be present during deliberations of a special committee by permission of the special committee.

Reports

26. In accordance with paragraph (b) of Annex 1905.6 to Chapter Nineteen of the Agreement, a special committee shall prepare and present to the involved Parties an initial report, wherever practicable, within 60 days after the appointment of the last member of the special committee.

27. The involved Parties may comment in writing or, at the request of the special committee, orally, on an initial report of a special committee within 14 days after the initial report is presented.

28. An initial report of a special committee shall be kept confidential.

29. (1) A special committee shall issue a final report, together with any separate opinions rendered by individual committee members, within 30 days after the presentation of its initial report.

(2) Any separate opinions rendered by individual special committee members shall be anonymous.

(3) On the issuance of a final report under subrule (1), the responsible Secretary shall immediately forward copies of the report to the involved Parties.

(4) Unless the involved Parties otherwise agree,

(a) within 10 days after the final report is forwarded to the involved Parties, the involved Secretaries shall cause a notice that a final report has been issued by a special committee to be published in the official publications of the involved Parties, indicating that copies of the report and of any separate opinions by individual members or written views of either involved Party are available to the public at the offices of the responsible Secretariat; and

(b) the responsible Secretariat shall make available to the public copies of the final report of a special committee, together with any separate opinions by individual members and any written views that either involved Party may wish to be published.