Conduct of employment tribunal hearings—general
Conduct of employment tribunal hearings—general

The following Employment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Conduct of employment tribunal hearings—general
  • Composition of employment tribunal
  • Wide powers to regulate procedure
  • Postponement and adjournment of hearings
  • Parallel tribunal and High Court proceedings
  • Appearance and representation
  • Where a party fails to attend
  • General conduct in tribunal hearings (how to address tribunal members etc)
  • How much tribunals may assist parties without professional representation
  • No formal rules of evidence (re hearsay, covert recordings etc)
  • more

The ET Rules classify all hearings as either:

  1. a preliminary hearing (see Practice Note: Preliminary hearings in the employment tribunal), or

  2. a final hearing (see Practice Notes: Preparation for employment tribunal final hearing and Procedure at employment tribunal final hearing)

The scope of what these two types of hearing may cover is different, as are the ET Rules which govern their procedure. These aspects are discussed separately in the Practice Notes mentioned above.

Some rules are common to both preliminary and final hearings, and some other procedural issues also arise in both, and these aspects of tribunal procedure are the subject of this Practice Note.

Preliminary hearings are usually conducted in private, whereas final hearings are almost always public, ie any member of the public may come and observe the trial in the tribunal hearing room.

There are however special rules allowing the tribunal, because it is necessary in the interests of justice, or in order to protect an individual's human rights, or for reasons of confidentiality, or for reasons relating to national security, to order that:

  1. some or all of a hearing that would otherwise have been public should be held in private

  2. the identity of a party or witness be kept secret

  3. there should be restrictions on reporting proceedings

  4. a person should be excluded from some or all of the proceedings

  5. certain documents