2.2 Preparing for the hearing
The importance of preparing for a hearing is very important in terms of whether a claim succeeds or fails at an Employment Tribunal. In terms of the hearing the Tribunal will expect to see a cogent numbered Bundle of Documents in a sensible order to allow them to make a determination on the claim.
It is important that all documentation is included in that Bundle as any documents which are outside that Bundle are unlikely to be considered by the Tribunal unless a special application is made and consented to by that Tribunal on the day. It is therefore essential that the Employment Tribunal Bundle includes all documents which are appropriate to defend the case. Professional representatives are used to drafting bundles of documentation for Employment Tribunals and are able to identify which documents are required to successfully defend any claim in a tribunal setting. This is particularly important where the tribunal has ordered that the bundle is limited to a certain number of pages.
The second important part of the preparation for the hearing is the witness statement. A witness statement is the version of events of the employer in terms of defending the claim and what their version of the truth is. Again, this is a very important stage in an Employment Tribunal which many unrepresented litigants do a poor job of. The witness statement should include all information in terms of defending the case including any representations in respect of contributory fault of an individual in the event that a Tribunal determines in the individual’s favour. It is crucial that this information is included as otherwise a Tribunal cannot consider it. Any information given outside the statement by an individual is unlikely to be considered with the same intensity by a Tribunal. Finally, witness statements need to be concluded by a statement of truth.
Professional representatives are used to drafting witness statements and including all information in terms of an employer defending the case. Without this, it is more likely that a defence will fail in the Employment Tribunal and that the Claimant will be successful.
When drafting witness statements, consideration also needs to be given as to whether witness orders need to be issued to compel witnesses to attend.
It is always good practice to draft a chronology of events and what is known as skeleton argument if the case is particularly complex.
Employment Tribunals expect parties to attend with copies of any relevant case law that needs to be referred.
Lastly, a counter schedule of loss needs to be produced in order to argue about the level of compensation, to be awarded, if matters reach this stage.
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