5. Appeal mechanism
An organiser of public meetings or public processions may appeal to an independent Appeal Board on Public Meetings and Processions against the decision of the Commissioner of Police to prohibit a public meeting, to object to a public procession or to impose conditions on the holding of a public meeting or public procession.
The Appeal Board consists of three members selected in rotation from a panel of 15 members and is chaired by a retired judge, which can be convened at short notice. While there is no time limit to lodge an appeal, it should be lodged as soon as possible so that a Notice of No Objection can be issued following a successful appeal and in time for the intended public meeting or procession.The Appeal Board is required to act expeditiously so as to ensure that an appeal is not frustrated by the decision being delayed until after the proposed date of public meeting or procession.
The Chairman of the Appeal Board determines the procedure and practice of an appeal, which are normally informal in nature. In the hearing of an appeal, the appellant and the Commissioner of Police shall be entitled to be heard either in person or through legal representatives. The Board would often encourage dialogues between the appellant and the police in pursuit of a mutual agreement.
The Appeal Board may, after hearing an appeal, confirm, reverse or vary the prohibition, objection or condition appealed against, and the determination of an appeal board by the Board shall be final. Any further challenge to the Appeal Board’s decision will be by way of judicial review.