Employment Tribunal Day 8 of 10: Employment Judge Robinson ruling
This is a report of a very small part of an Employment Tribunal hearing I attended, my interest in this part is mentioned in the text below. By this point the matter had already been part heard over 7 days and this was day 8 of 10. Brief details are below.
Venue: Tribunal Room 2, Third Floor, Liverpool Civil and Family Court Hearing Centre, 35 Vernon Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L2 2BX
Case reference: 2400718/16
Appellant: Mrs A. Mountney
Respondent: Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council
Employment Judge: Judge Robinson
Mr AG Barker
Mrs JE Williams
Clerk: Lynne Quilty
Time: 10.00 am
After understanding there were three bundles and about a dozen witness statements, I wrote a letter to EJ Robinson which I handed in this morning of the 8th February 2017 before the Employment Tribunal resumed. In my letter I referred to  3 All ER 551 which was a judicial review by The Queen on the application of Guardian News and Media Limited decided in the Court of Appeal (therefore binding on the Employment Tribunal). The appeal (overturning the earlier judicial review) allowed Guardian News and Media Limited access to documents (and other material) referred to at hearings open to the public.
I had been sent this last year by a Registrar to a Tribunal who had told me this was the case law that that Tribunal relied on when considering requests by those who aren’t party to a case. For clarity this was not the Employment Tribunal (although the same case appears to be binding on both types of tribunal).
Employment Judge Robinson referring to my letter (after asking if I was there) said I could inspect the bundles and witness statements during the hearing itself and during the hour lunch break (although the clerk at lunch later insisted it was impossible to do what the Judge had ruled on employment grounds).
EJ Robinson did arrange for the witness statements to be added to the bundles which had been mislaid for which I am grateful.
However EJ Robinson ruled that copies could not be supplied by the Employment Tribunal (despite my offer to cover the costs of copying).
It is of course up to the judiciary to make rulings such as these, (the witness statements and documents in the bundle have been referred to at open hearings over eight days), and the bundle does include some documents already published on Wirral Council’s website.
I write this as it should be of wider interest.
If a FOI or EIR request is made there is an exception (court records) which includes tribunals.
Although there are specified rules in the Civil Procedure Rules and Criminal Procedure Rules for access to court records by parties who are not part of the case, the rules on disclosure of documents appear to vary depending on the type of tribunal.
Below however is a quote from the North West Employers report in the third bundle titled, “Report of an investigation into a grievance raised by Alison Mountney” which may help with better understanding about what this Employment Tribunal is about.
This refers to an allegation upheld by the investigator. The quote is, “that Wirral Council has failed in its duty of care and made her ill due to work related stress and this is due to her having been treated differently to other staff and mistreated by others in that the Council did not fully discharge its duty of care by not conducting appropriate risk assessments, securing timely specialist advice and ensuring managers were well informed and equipped to take prompt and appropriate actions to mitigate potential risks to Alison Mountney’s health and wellbeing.”
I requested a formal written response to my letter, but that was denied.
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