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Presidential Practice Direction on remote hearings

Those MILS members involved in litigation will be aware of the difficulties the pandemic has caused on the running of the Courts and Tribunals.  For the many members with active Tribunals, we are advising on a case by case basis.  The President of the Employment Tribunals in England and Wales has now issued a Practice Direction to try to give further guidance on how the Tribunals are going to progress, particularly in regards to the hearing of remote (video link) hearings.  The main points to note are as follows:

  • Tribunal hearings may take place on a wholly remote basis or a partially remote basis.

  • A wholly remote approach might be applicable where the Tribunal venue has closed.  A partly remote or hybrid hearing may allow a participant to join a hearing remotely if his or her personal circumstances make attendance difficult or social distancing is difficult at the venue.

  • A hearing may take place on one day or over more than one day with a combination of methods.

  • There are directions to try to continue to ensure compliance with open justice so that members of the public and press can observe remote hearings and look at documents.  There is further detailed guidance for the preparation of bundles to try to minimise the risk of infection handling paper documents.

  • The full publication is available on the judiciary webpage https://www.judiciary.uk/publications/employment-rules-and-legislation-practice-directions/

Naturally, such guidance remains fluid and depending on the progress of the virus over the winter, this could all yet still changeā€¦..