Coronavirus (COVID-19): impact on employment tribunal hearings
Directions were put in place on 19 March 2020 (amended on 24 March 2020) following the guidance:
- All full ‘in person’ tribunal hearings listed to commence on or before Friday 26 June 2020 (where parties are physically expected to be in attendance at a tribunal hearing centre) will be converted to a telephone case management hearing on the first day allocated;
- If a case is listed for more than one day, parties should proceed on the basis that the remaining fixed days have been cancelled;
- This includes hearings that are already in progress; and
- Parties should assume that their hearings has been converted to a case management hearing, unless they have otherwise been notified.
Such steps will support the self-isolation guidance provided by the Government, and will stop the need for non-essential travel, namely parties, their representatives and any witnesses travelling to hearing centres. Tribunals are being encouraged to conduct the case management hearings via telephone or video conferencing.
The purpose of the case management hearings will be for the parties and tribunal to discuss how best to proceed in light of the pandemic. This may include whether video correspondence is appropriate going forwards, whether documents can be sent/accepted electronically to accommodate remote working and also to consider any applications to postpone hearings or for time extensions.
Such applications must have supportive evidence showing that the reason is a valid COVID-19 related one i.e. witness unavailable due to illness/self-isolation.
Any hearings due to commence on or after Monday 29 June 2020 will remain listed and be subject to further directions in due course.
This direction is subject to ongoing review and is due to be reviewed on 29 April 2020 and 29 May 2020. In the meantime, this is likely to change over the coming weeks and we will keep you as up to date as possible with any new developments surrounding on-going cases.
If you have any questions or wish to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced Employment Lawyers on 01202 525333 for further advice.