Non-qualified advocate presenting case at tribunal
Moir v Heart of England Housing and Care Ltd, EAT 15 August 2005, EAT website September 2005
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has recently allowed an appeal against a tribunal finding that the claimant had not had a fair hearing. The claimant, Mrs Moir, was represented by her husband, a non-qualified representative, at her tribunal hearing.
The EAT found that the way the tribunal chairman intervened when Mr Moir was attempting to cross-examine witnesses from his wife’s ex-employer during the hearing had deflected Mr Moir, and persuaded him not to pursue a line of questioning which was relevant to an issue in the case. This resulted in Mrs Moir not being able to present her case properly, and have evidence taken into account that may have supported her case. The case was sent back for rehearing on those issues.
Cross-examination tips for witnesses
- Address the tribunal chairman and panel members as ‘sir’ or ‘madam’
- When answering all questions put to you at the hearing, answer as truthfully as you can
- Do not avoid questions. The cross-examiner will keep coming back to the point until you answer
- If you don’t know the answer, say so. You will not be criticised for not being able to remember something or not knowing the answer
- If you are unsure of the answer, but are fairly certain, or have a rough idea, then make that clear. Do not guess – if you are wrong, you will appear to have lied
- Try to remain calm – do not get irritated or emotional about the questions being asked.