Chester 01244 405555

Grosvenor Court
Foregate Street Chester
Cheshire CH1 1HG
DX: 19990 Chester

Shrewsbury 01743 443 043

Lakeside House
Oxon Business Park
Shrewsbury SY3 5HJ
DX: 148563 Shrewsbury 14

Airport City, Manchester 0844 800 8346

Office 129
Manchester Business Park
3000 Aviator Way
Manchester M22 5TG

Send us a message
Our Offices

Does a medical condition excuse an Employment Tribunal member from appearing asleep during a hearing?

24th September, 2014

In the case of Elys v Marks and Spencer PLC UKEAT 0518/13, an unsuccessful claimant appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal on the basis that a lay-member of the Tribunal panel had been asleep during various parts of the hearing.

In response to this appeal, the EAT held that the member’s alleged sleeping did not lead to a procedural irregularity entitling it to overturn the Tribunal’s original decision.

The EAT heard that the Tribunal member in question had his eyes closed for periods of 15-20 seconds and was seen to be drooling on several separate occasions during a three-week hearing. However, this was due to a medical condition leaving his eyes dry, for which he was already taking painkillers.

The EAT’s focus was to make a finding of fact on whether there had been any inattention from the Tribunal member, in the opinion of a properly informed and impartial observer.

It was held that throughout the hearing, the Tribunal member asked questions, made extensive notes and actively took part in the Tribunal’s discussions. His ‘sleeping’ and ‘drooling’ could not therefore amount to a procedural irregularity.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal did however note that the appeal proceedings could have been completely avoided, had the Tribunal member informed the Judge of his medical condition at the outset of the hearing. It was unfortunate that this situation was left open to misinterpretation by the parties.

For further information and advice in relation to Employment Tribunals please contact Helen Watson on 01244 405565 or send an email to [email protected]

You might also be interested in...

Is there such a thing as a good divorce?

22nd November, 2018

Family Law Partner Sandy Edwards believes there is. Next week, from 26 to 30 November, Resolution, an organisation of 6,500 family lawyers and other professionals, will be promoting “Good Divorce Week” which will focus on how separating and divorcing couples can put their children’s needs first and limit the impact of conflict. The week falls during the government’s divorce... Read More »

Ethics Guidance – Transparency in Price and Service

16th November, 2018

It is reported that a quarter of all complaints dealt with by the Legal Ombudsman revolve around costs. Therefore to avoid complaints and confusion, it is important to be clear from the outset. The new Transparency Rules (which the SRA have now confirmed will come into effect on 6 December 2018) require that accurate and relevant information is... Read More »

Aaron & Partners Increases Recommendations in Leading Industry Guide, The Legal 500

5th November, 2018

Aaron & Partners LLP has once again seen improved rankings in The Legal 500 – a comprehensive guide... Read More »

Contact Us