On 19th March 2020 it was directed that all in-person hearings (hearings where the parties are expected to be in attendance at a tribunal hearing centre) from 23rd March 2020 onwards are to be converted to a case management hearing by telephone or other electronic means which will take place (unless parties are advised otherwise) on the first day allocated for the hearing. This applies as at today’s date to hearings listed to commence on or before Friday 26th June 2020 subject to review on 29th April 2020 and again on 29th May 2020.
In addition parties involved in hearings which have been listed as in person hearings are being encouraged to agree to hearings being conducted by electronic means where appropriate. This is covered in more detail in the Presidential Guidance. The parties to a claim in which I am instructed have recently jointly requested for an in person preliminary hearing on the question of disability to be conducted via Skype.
I have set out below links to the Presidential Guidance and the amended direction issued on 18th March 2020 & 23rd March 2020 respectively.
I have been advising my clients to continue to prepare cases in accordance with any directions ordered by the Employment Tribunal unless otherwise directed by the Employment Tribunal. In another recent telephone case management hearing a trial readiness direction was inserted into the Order. The purpose of which was to confirm to the Tribunal that the parties were ready for trial so that should an earlier hearing date become available the case could be slotted into the list. You may wish to ask for this direction when you complete your case management agenda.
Finally there appear to be ongoing issues in respect of all hearings at Central London I have set out below the information received from the ELA this morning on 1st April 2020.
‘The London Central Employment Tribunal at Victory House is presently closed due to operational reasons. Unless parties have already had recent contact from the Tribunal with details of a telephone case management hearing listed for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week and Monday of next week, the parties should assume that all hearings otherwise listed for those days at London Central are postponed to be relisted for a future date. Even if a case has been listed for a telephone case management hearing on those days the parties should assume that witnesses may be stood down and that only the parties or their representatives are expected to participate in the telephone case management hearing. The Tribunal will review the position on Monday and will seek to provide a further announcement then.’