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The other side’s statements

An important bit of preparation for the hearing is getting detailed comments on the other side’s statements from your client. There are two reasons for this.

First, you may want to get your client (or other witnesses) to give some additional evidence commenting on the other side’s statements. You need to know before the hearing what they have to say, so that you can ask the right questions to give them a chance to say it.

Second – and perhaps more importantly – you need this information for the purposes of your own cross-examination. If the dismissing manager says something that your client says can’t be true, you need to know why – so that you can put that to the dismissing manager when you are cross-examining her.

So as soon as you exchange witness statements, send the employer’s statements to the claimant and ask for detailed comments on them. For everything they say, you want to know ‘Do we agree with this? If not, what do we say?’ It’s important to do this promptly, because you will often need further explanation of some of the comments: people aren’t always very good at realising quite how specalised their knowledge about their own workplace is. Depending on your client, it may be better to do this in a face-to-face meeting. Have the person who is going to present the case to the tribunal at the meeting if at all possible.

One comment

  1. Michael

    If you don’t have a representative, you can still go through the same process. Work your way through the other side’s statements with a pen, asking the same questions and making notes.

    It is worth doing this systematically. Your first reaction will probably be anger over the major disagreements between you and your employer. This is natural, but not always useful. By proceeding in a methodical manner through the statements, you will often find useful points that you would otherwise miss.

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