The coronavirus pandemic has caused all of us to adapt to changing circumstances. Not only have individuals and businesses had to experiment with new ways of working but Employment Tribunals have had to adjust their measures to fit the ‘new normal’.
Whilst video technology has long been a part of the justice system, Employment Tribunals have had to increase their capacity to deal with remote hearings as well as ensuring their own, and their users, familiarity with the technology.
With in-person hearings that were scheduled to take place between 23rd March and 26th June 2020 having to be postponed, as well as a large number of new claims continuing to commence in the Tribunals, a plan needed to be put in place to assist the Tribunals in dealing with employment claims.
The introduction of the video hearing
In order to assist parties, a ‘road map’ was created in order to allow for a gradual increase in the number of hearings taking place in the Employment Tribunal amidst the pandemic.
In July and August 2020, the Tribunals began utilising the ‘Cloud Video Platform’ (CVP). CVP works through any internet-enabled devices that has a camera or microphone.
Now, seven months on from its introduction and still very much in the midst of the pandemic, we are seeing 3 different kinds of hearings taking place:
- A wholly remote hearing
- A partly remote hearing or
- An in-person hearing
The future of Employment Tribunal hearings
Video hearings are likely to remain an essential way for Tribunals to deal with hearings. Whilst an in-person hearing is likely to remain the conventional and preferred options for many, the use of video hearings allows the Tribunal to adapt not only to personal circumstances but also gives the potential for the backlog of employment cases to reduce.
Preparing for a video hearing
- Make sure you have the dial in details ready before the scheduled hearing.
- Ensure you are calling from a quiet place and make sure your mobile phone is either turned off or switched to silent.
- If you have legal representation, consider how you will communicate with them during the hearing. It may be best to do this by text or email.
- Do not record the hearing without permission.
12th February 2021