Guidance on remote hearings in Employment Tribunals
The President of the Employment Tribunals (England & Wales), Judge Barry Clarke, has issued three new Presidential Guidance documents which take effect today, 15 September 2020.
First is the Presidential Practice Direction on remote hearings and open justice. This sets out the way that open justice should be preserved during remote hearings, for example by witness statements being put up on screen or read out by the witness.
Second is the Presidential Guidance on remote and in-person hearings. This sets out the factors to consider when deciding whether a hearing should be remote, partly remote, or in person, and gives guidance on how parties should prepare for remote hearings (including guidance on lodging documents). The preference is that documents should be lodged as PDFs, not paper bundles, although that remains only a preference. It also sets out safety factors for in-person hearings, for example separate paper bundles should be available for each witness (unless the witnesses are gloved), and tribunals can refuse to accept documents handed up during the hearing unless the representative handing up the documents is wearing gloves.
The third relates to the use of the Welsh language.