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

Manchester 0844 800 8346

Pall Mall Court
61-67 King Street
Manchester M2 4PD

Send us a message
Our Offices

The Employment Tribunal should not conduct its own research

17th December, 2014

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held in a recent case that the Employment Tribunal (ET) committed a procedural error by undertaking its own research that supported the Claimant’s case and then relied upon that research in its conclusions.

The Claimant, who suffered from depression, brought claims for unfair dismissal and discrimination on the grounds of disability. In considering her claim for discrimination, the Tribunal had to determine whether her depression rendered her disabled for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010, in a way that has a significant effect on her ability to carry out normal day to day activities.

Following uncertainty as to the dosage the Claimant received for her depression, the Tribunal retired and, despite neither party raising it as an issue, conducted its own research on the internet in respect of her prescription where it appeared that she had been prescribed the maximum recommended dosage. The Tribunal proceeded to question the Claimant thoroughly on that basis and whether she was considered by her Doctor to be “severely depressed”.

Rule 41 of the Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/1237) emphasises that the Tribunal should “seek to avoid undue formality and may itself question the parties or any witnesses so far as appropriate in order to clarify the issues or elicit the evidence”. However, the EAT held, on appeal by the Respondent, that the Tribunal had made a procedural error of law. Whilst Rule 41 allows the Tribunal to make enquiries, the Tribunal cannot enquire into evidence which was never volunteered by either party, and then rely on that evidence.

The EAT further concluded that the tribunal had taken a hostile view towards the Trust and that it should not continue to hear the case

In consequence, the President of the EAT has set out some guidance in relation to bundles of authorities that are submitted to the employment tribunal or the EAT remarking that parties should highlight passages that are specifically being relied upon in Tribunal.

Whilst Claimants and Respondents alike are entitled to represent themselves at Tribunal, we would strongly urge any party to proceedings to seek profession advice and representation at an early stage.

For further information and advice in relation to any of the issues raised above, please contact Paul Bennett on 01743 453 685 or send an email to [email protected].

You might also be interested in...

Legal expert’s data protection workshops pull in the crowds

22nd May, 2018

With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force in May, businesses across Shropshire have been flocking to hear more about the new laws Paul Bennett, a partner at law firm Aaron & Partners LLP, has been delivering seminars in partnership with the Shropshire Chamber of Commerce An employment solicitor from Shrewsbury is urging businesses across the... Read More »

Experienced HR leader joins Aaron & Partners LLP

15th May, 2018

Experienced HR leader joins Aaron & Partners LLP Law firm with offices in Chester and Shrewsbury appoints Kate Robertson to drive HR strategy for more than 120 staff and to support the company’s growth Chester law firm Aaron & Partners LLP has strengthened its senior leadership team with the appointment of an experienced human resources manager. Kate Robertson... Read More »

When you should NOT pay the bailiff…

24th April, 2018

Jan Chillery, Insolvency Partner at Aaron & Partners LLP, shares her experience and the reasons why we should be cautious before paying so-called “bailiffs” over the phone or online without vetting them first. My neighbour has told me that recently he had a CCJ (County Court Judgment) against him. A day or so later, he received a phone call... Read More »

Contact Us