We’re head on into another year where remote hearings will be a mainstay of HR professionals and employment lawyers’ lives.
We’ve been representing our clients nationally in this way for a while now, so the team have put together some top tips on pre-hearing logistics, how to prepare your witnesses and what to expect at ‘the main event’. So, let’s dive in.
Pre-Remote Hearing Checklist
When your hearing is coming up fast, make a note to complete these top 5 steps:
- Test the tech
Ensure you have done a ‘dress rehearsal’ by checking the connectivity of the machine you will be using to access the hearing. This includes the wi-fi strength and whether your headphones work. The Tribunal usually provide a “test link” prior to the date of the hearing. And ensure that the room that you will be using on the day is sufficiently private.
2. Make sure all your documents are delivered in time
A Tribunal will require these between 2-7 days before remote hearings. Remember that your witnesses will need two copies of the Bundle and Statements each. Be aware that the Judge may ask witnesses to hold their clean copies up to the camera to check nothing is highlighted or marked up.
3. Taking the Oath
Check how your witnesses will take the Oath. Ensure that a witness has their holy book of choice with them, where applicable.
Make sure everyone knows how to access the remote hearing, and what time they need to be there.
Do you have your witnesses’ contact details for the advocate and the Tribunal, in case of IT issues?
We always set up a private communicate channel with our clients to use during a hearing. So set some time aside to prepare and to ensure that no private dialogue accidentally takes place on an open channel.
5. Preparing your Witnesses
Some of these might sound obvious on a first pass but trust us, you’re going to want to send this list to your witnesses:
- Put a sign on the door that says ‘remote hearing in progress’ (or similar) to stop people walking in
- Ensure your video background and surroundings are appropriate
- Dress as if you would if you were attending the hearing in person
- Make sure witness statements are comprehensive
- Pay close attention to your body language. It’s more prominent in a remote hearing – so be sure to keep focused and resist looking at the birds out of the window
The Remote Hearing Itself
The day is upon us: Here’s 3 things to remember:
- Make sure you are alone, and that you are using a clean copy of all your documents. The tribunal may ask you to pan your camera around the room to prove this.
- You may find yourself in an electronic waiting room. You’ll be given a warning by the Judge when everyone is to be entered into the same virtual room. It doesn’t always work so smoothly, so be ready!
- During adjournments, don’t dial off the call. Just switch off your camera and your microphone.
Remote hearings can be clunky and are more tiring, but hopefully this list helps alleviate some of the inevitable apprehension in the run up. For more, don’t miss our checklist download here, and check out our employment tribunal advice hub here. Or if you’d like to speak to one of our lawyers regarding a case or representation, contact us here.