Upon arrival to the Employment Tribunal you will have to sign in at the reception. There are two separate waiting rooms for the employee ‘Claimant,’ and the employer ‘Respondents.’
The clerk to the Employment Tribunal will take from parties the witness statements, trial bundle and case law authorities and place them before the Employment Judge and the panel members if the Judge is not sitting alone.
The clerk to the Employment Tribunal will inform the parties when the Judge is ready to hear the case, and remind everyone to turn off their mobile phones before they enter the room.
When entering the Employment Tribunal room, it is customary for the Respondent to sit on the left-hand side facing the tribunal panel, with the Claimant sitting on the right-hand side.
The Judge will be legally qualified as a Solicitor, Barrister or Chartered Legal Executive and will sit in the middle of the panel. The rest of the panel often referred to as the ‘industrial jury’, will consist of two non-legally qualified lay members, one from a Human Resources background and one from a Trade Union background.
An area at the back of the tribunal room is available for witnesses, members of the public and the press.
The Start of the Hearing
The Employment Judge will introduce himself to the parties. All the parties and their representatives are allowed to sit down throughout the hearing.
You will be called to the witness table when it is your turn to give evidence. You will then be sworn in or, if you are not religious, asked to affirm. The tribunal clerk will ask you for your preference on this point before the hearing begins.
All the relevant documents the parties are relying on will be in front of them on the table and you will not be allowed to have any other documents to refer to.
A witness statement may be already read by the panel before the start of the hearing.
The witness statement together with your answers to questions from the legal representative and panel forms your ‘evidence in chief’. This forms the basis for ‘cross-examination’.
Re-examination is when your representative asks a few more questions to clarify some issues that might have come out of cross-examination.
The employment judge should be addressed as ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’. If the tribunal adjourns for a break or lunch while you are giving evidence you are not allowed to speak to any of the other witnesses or to your representative.
You are not allowed to talk to anybody about the case until you have finished giving evidence and are no longer under oath.
The Legal Representatives are required to give closing submissions at the end of the hearing. The submissions will be an analysis of the case and application of case law authority.
The Final Decision
The Employment Judge and panel will adjourn to consider its decision.
The final judgment may be given orally on the day of the hearing or a reserved and a written judgment may be sent out to the parties at a later date.
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