Question Attend an Employment Tribunal and write a court report about your visit and what you witnessed.
• You are tasked with writing a court report for your first assignment on this module.
• You need to attend an employment tribunal and spend a day or at least part of a day witnessing a case in dispute in open court.
• You should then make notes about what you have witnessed and use these as a basis to produce a report.
Some Points to Note
• You will not be permitted to make notes in the court room. You are there to observe justice being carried out and are there to make your observations. Make any notes that you need to in order to jog your memory when the court adjourns (takes a break).
• Only report on what takes place in open court. This is vital as it is only the matters which take place in open court that are legally in the public domain and are therefore not deemed to be of a confidential nature.
• Any discussions that take place outside of the court room between lawyers and their clients are confidential and to breach this confidentiality is an offence. You must make sure that you do not pester or bother the lawyers and parties to the dispute.
• You must sit in the public gallery (in modern buildings this is usually at the back of the court room where there are a few rows of chairs).
• Courts operate on the basis that they are open to the public. However, the judge has the right to remove individuals from his court and he has the right to close the public gallery. These are usually restricted to criminal cases or to certain evidential disputes where the two legal teams are arguing about whether a piece of evidence can be presented in court and therefore due to the nature of this the proceedings will have to remain secret and the public be excluded.
• If you are involved in any case where there is a jury present then you must not talk to the jury at all. The public are usually kept well away from the jury and jurors are told never to discuss their deliberations ever not during or after the trial. To do so is a very serious criminal offence.
• The same caution should be taken with witnesses. Do not discuss anything with witnesses. You can write about what they said as evidence in the court when they were in the witness stand as this is information that is in the public domain as it was said in open court. However, should you accidentally meet a witness in the toilets, canteen or having a cigarette outside the entrance to the building do not discuss their case with them and do not discuss and gossip about these things to anyone else. Only write about what you have learned in open court.
• Do not write about the people and become absorbed in their characters, keep to the law.
• Try to avoid making assumptions and instead report the facts.
• Try to link what you witness in court to the law that you have learned or will learn during the course.
• Do research the area of law that is applicable to the proceedings that you have witnessed.
• Do write about the legal tests and the statute or rules that are applied.
• Do write about the facts in so much as they are relevant to the proceedings and what you are reporting.
• Bad examples would be to write about the people as if it were a storyline in a soap opera.
• In the case of Smith v. Slimebucket, Ms. Smith brought a claim for sex discrimination. Mr. Slimebucket looked sleazy and while he was giving evidence he was eyeing up every female lawyer he could see and he made my skin crawl. He was shifty in appearance and he was not nice when he was asked questions by the good looking male barrister. I think he was envious of the nice young barrister because he would have no trouble in chatting up any woman he liked the look of unlike Mr. Slimebucket.
• Other bad examples would include;
• I was at the tribunal and there was some dispute where a woman claimed she had been paid less than her male colleagues. The judge looked old and the case was dull. I do not know what they were talking about but it went on for a long time. There were several witnesses called and they did not want to be there. One of the witnesses was complaining to me that she had only recently given up smoking but because of this case and all the stress she had started to smoke again. She was most unhappy and hated having to be there.
• Good examples would be more like the following;
• In the case of Goode v. Blotton NHS a young nurse Ms. Goode claimed that she had been unfairly dismissed. The facts of the case were… During evidence given by the head of the NHS Trust personnel department it became apparent that they had not followed their own in house good practice procedures. The NHS Trust had broken their own guidelines and this was taken seriously by the judge. The tribunal then seemed to go more favourably for the claimant. The lawyer for the claimant argued that the law …. should be applied and he said that the judge should follow the line of reasoning adopted in the case of …. In light of this and of the above evidence presented in court the case was decided in favour of the claimant.
• Hussain v. Wiggy. In this case the claimant a Miss Hussain was claiming that she was the victim of discrimination under the Equality Act 2006. She had seen a job advertised for a sales assistant at Wiggy a store that sold wigs and false hair pieces. Miss Hussain had retail experience and had worked in the fashion industry for 15 years. She had experience of being a sales assistant in a major department store and had been trained in sales assistant courses and customer services. The job advertised at Wiggy’s was for a sales assistant and Miss Hussain seemed to think that she was suitable for the post and applied. The job specification was for a person who was used to serving female customers in particular and in the person specification it was noted that the applicant must have retail experience and have proven experience and skills with customers who were sensitive. Miss Hussain claims that she was discriminated against as she is a devout Muslim and wears a headscarf. Mr. Garnet who owns Wiggy’s said that she was unsuitable for the job as they sell a lot of wigs to women who are undergoing cancer treatment and need to buy a wig because their hair has fallen out. In evidence he said that Miss Hussain was unsuitable for the job as she wears a headscarf and that “How could she sell someone a wig when she wears a scarf!” He became quite agitated under cross-examination and admitted that it was the fact that she wore a headscarf that made him think she was unsuitable for the job. As the case continued it became apparent that Miss Hussain was used to serving women who had undergone cancer treatment as in her last role she had been a sales assistant in the underwear department of a major store and she had specialised in measuring and fitting women for bras who had undergone mastectomies. Miss Hussain said it was pure discrimination on the part of Mr. Alf Garnet who had made it clear at interview that he did not want her because of her faith.
Work of Good Quality
Virtually all of the relevant information/skills accurately deployed. Excellent and exceptional grasp of theoretical, conceptual, analytical and practical elements. Very effective integration of theory, practice and information in relation to the objectives of the assessment. Substantial evidence of originality and creativity as appropriate to the subject.
Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria
when you have successfully completed this module you will: Assessment Criteria
to demonstrate that you have achieved the learning outcome you will:
1. Be able to demonstrate a critical knowledge and understanding of the main concepts, principles and rules of employment law. Critically analyse true to life problems and scenarios and identify the rules of statute and case law, which applies to them. Evaluate areas of contention within a given framework of employment law.
2. Be able to evaluate employment law in relation to the needs of Human Resource Management. Explain the historical context of employment law and its relationship to human resource management and appraise areas of successful application of employment law. Identify areas of contention. Identify and evaluate suggestions for reform.
3. Be able to evaluate how employment law functions in relation to real life issues. Be able to critically appraise relevant legal principles in relation to real life cases.
4. Be able to demonstrate research and communication skills appropriate to the level of study. Be able to produce documents, which draw on and critically appraise valid research.
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