What should I wear at an employment tribunal

Nick Singer

06 February 2018

What are employment tribunals and what do they do?

Employment Tribunals are an independent judicial body established by the Government to resolve disputes between employers and employees over employment rights. The
Employment tribunal will hear claims about employment matters such as unfair and constructive dismissal claims, discrimination, wages, and whistleblowing and redundancy claims. There are also many other sorts of claims that can be bought at the employment tribunal.

What’s it like to go to an employment tribunal?

Employment tribunals are normally in office buildings and the hearings are held in individual tribunal rooms. There are three members of the tribunal who will decide on your case this will be called the tribunal panel. They are an employment judge who will run the proceedings, a person representing employer's organisations and a person representing employee's organisations. Some types of cases and some types of hearings can be heard by an employment judge without the other two panel members.
Employment Tribunals are less formal than a court, for example, no one wears a wig or gown. However, like a court, tribunals cannot give out legal advice, almost all hearings are open to the public, and evidence will be given under oath or affirmation.

Video Transcript

Hello, my name is Mark Ferron MD of Castle Associates and if you like to know what to wear at an employment tribunal or how to address the judge then please watch this short video and expert barrister Nick singer will explain.

Well I should point out that for some tribunals there are three panel members, so you've got the judge who is legally trained and you've got two lay members or one will be from an employer or HR background the other will be from a sort of employee union background, so there's usually three sometimes just the judge but you would call all of them sir or madam.

Well, all the advocates and anyone doing advocacy should wear a suit. In terms of witnesses and parties, I always say just try and wear what you feel comfortable in and some people want to try and make an impression but I think ultimately the most important thing is that the witnesses feel comfortable, feel happy and therefore wear something comfortable.

I don’t think going in an old pair of jeans or anything like that would necessary make a good impression so trying to find that balance between being comfortable and but also looking the part because I have to be very careful because as a barrister you're not allowed to do what's called coaching a witness which is to kind of prepare them. So I know what it I would never want to be seen to be saying to a witness well we're gonna try and get around this we'll try and sort of them make the tribunal think these things I sort of try and keep it as natural as possible and leave it with them there's no dress code.

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