Tea-leaf reading

Employment cases are very important to the parties and a great deal depends on what the tribunal thinks.

The natural human instinct in such situations is to try to figure out what the tribunal is making of the case.

To some extent this is very sensible. It is valuable to have some idea of how the tribunal is approaching the case and what they think of it. This allows you to tailor your case to the tribunal and deal with areas of difficulty.

But it is all to easy to become slightly obsessed, to the detriment of your case. Many litigants and their advisors will start to read meaning into trivial behaviour. How quickly the tribunal replies to a letter, or precisely what words they use, can take on an overwhelming importance. The tribunal’s facial expressions, or when they break for lunch, is often subject to the most rigourous scrutiny.

The fact is that it is quite impossible to get any insight into what the tribunal is thinking by analysing such things to death. You will only cause yourself stress and worry. Be alert for indications from the tribunal to guide the presentation of your case, but don’t try to read their minds.

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