A guide to the preliminary hearings which take place before an employment tribunal

by Damian on June 11, 2013

The employment tribunals London judges oversee are often quite complex. Because of this, it’s common for a judge to hold a preliminary hearing prior to the actual tribunal, so as to review a specific aspect of a case, or to clarify certain issues. In this article, we’ll be discussing what’s involved in this process. The first type of preliminary hearing is a CMD, or case management discussion. These are private meetings with the judge, and are held for the purposes of establishing procedural aspects of the case, such as whether or not certain evidence is required, or whether a pre-hearing review should be arranged. Case management discussions do not involve the judge considering the merits of the case. Whilst they are usually conducted in person, these discussions can also be conducted by phone conference. At this point in the process, no evidence is presented by either party.

Based on the information gathered during these discussions, the judge may decide to make an order of some kind; examples include an order that one of the parties involved provide further details, or an order for the hearing to be adjourned or postponed. If one of the parties is later found to have not complied with this order, they can then be ordered to pay all of the other party’s costs, or their response could be struck out.

Because employment tribunals London employees and employers are involved in are usually quite complicated, pre-hearing reviews are frequently held before the tribunal. The purpose of these reviews is to decide on the preliminary issues of a case – some examples of these types of issues might be whether or not a late claim made by an employee can still proceed, whether a claimant has been working for the employer for long enough to merit a claim of unfair dismissal, or what the exact status of the employee is.

During this process, both parties have the opportunity to explain their side of the case and a judge will then decide what needs to happen next. Sometimes, after these kinds of preliminary hearings, the employment tribunals London employees participate in end up not going forward, due to the claimants not meeting the criteria for making a claim, or due to the fact that the judge has decided that there isn’t a reasonable chance of success, because of a lack of evidence.

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