This week we held our annual Mock Employment Tribunal in conjunction with the CIPD students at Hereford and Ludlow College. This is a popular event that we have staged for some years.
What is an Employment Tribunal?
Tribunals are not as formal than other courts. Parties can be represented by solicitors, barristers, trade union representatives or non-legally-qualified consultants. Parties can also represent themselves. The tribunal can decide the order in which it hears from parties and witnesses and can take hearsay evidence into account. The tribunal may consist of an employment judge and two lay members. However, in many cases, including claims for unfair dismissal, the employment judge can sit alone.
Our Mock Employment Tribunal
Lawyers from our Employment and HR department conducted Advocacy sessions with the students at the College prior to the Tribunal. They were advised on the procedure for bringing and defending an employment tribunal claim. The teams considered the evidence contained in the joint Tribunal Bundle of Documents, prepared for cross-examining and re-examining witnesses and providing oral submissions to the Judge Panel.
This year’s scenario was based on the fairness of a Social Media dismissal. The students, who conducted the advocacy, gave attendees the opportunity to observe a Tribunal case in a safe environment – without the risk of a potential judgement.
Our Panel consisted of Abhi Mohindru Solicitor and Alastair Pratt HLC CIPD Lecturer. They heard opening submissions, evidence from three witnesses and closing submissions before retiring to reach their Judgement.
The standard of the students’ work is always of a high level and this year was no different. Dealing with the witnesses really gave the students a feel for how a case can be won or lost on the witnesses and how they, as HR Professionals, would come under the microscope should a dispute end up in Tribunal.
The students’ knowledge and obvious hard work were exceptional which gave a very interesting and thought-provoking event. The Judgement was made in favour of the Claimant but in their summing up the Judges pointed out that the decision could have gone either way and commended the students’ achievement.
Once again, the Students did themselves, the College and Kidwells proud. Thank you also to the Judges Panel and the witnesses.
The Mock Tribunal is part of the Kidwells initiative to provide free practical and beneficial training to local businesses. Such training ranges from in-house sessions on topical issues such as TUPE, conducting Disciplinary Hearings or effective recruitment tactics through to Employment Law updates to HR Professionals.
The Employment team is always happy to provide training to any organisation, large or small, in whatever area required. If you would like to know more about such training or would like to suggest a topic to form part of our public forthcoming events please contact Rebecca Hardy to discuss further.
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