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DAY 1 TUESDAY, 24 MARCH 2020

Headlines:

  • Today is only the second day in which the new ET guidance has been in effect.
  • All hearings have been converted into one-day telephone case management hearings.
  • Our experience is that ETs are using these hearings simply to re-list hearings for the distant future when this will – hopefully – be a distant memory.
  • Unsurprisingly, demand on the ET phone system is causing technical issues, including for judges working from home,
  • Croydon ET in particular has, we understand, been trying to urge parties to have (multi-day) cases heard by Skype, though we understand that listing is still so busy that a re-listed Skype hearing could not be arranged for the near future.
  • There continues to be a long backlog in London tribunals.
Technical issues: Two colleagues were to appear in a three-day final hearing in a discrimination case, starting on Monday at 10am. On Friday morning, they were told it would be relisted to a 1-hour telephone case management hearing at 11am. The number did not work initially, with no indication that it was an active telephone number. One side was 

able to get through after 5 or 6 tries; the other side took another 20 minutes. The judge did not. The hearing was rearranged for 15.00 and then the final hearing re-listed/

 Relisting: we understand that ETs are canvassing parties about hearings going ahead over Skype with parties during the newly listed case management calls but that, by and large, parties are not being bounced into it. That said, Sophia Berry  reports a multi-day unfair dismissal due to be heard in May, in Croydon. Her solicitors were told that the ET wanted the case to go ahead on Skype in any case. This predated the update to the ET Presidents’ guidance (which set a time frame for review) and it may well now be that this practice will stop. We understand that, in any case, Skype hearings are not available in the very near future; one obvious upshot is that even those hearings may not be listed before things are back to normal.

Judicial mediations: our colleague Bianca Balmelli  reports judicial comments to the effect that arrangements are not yet in place for judicial mediations but that creative solutions are being considered. Stay tuned.

Posted: 24.03.2020 at 16:09
Tags:  Covid-19
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