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Taking a break

What do you do if you’re desperate for a pee and there’s still an hour to go until lunchtime or the end of the day?

If you’re just observing the hearing – whether it’s your case, or you are a friend or relative of the claimant’s, or a member of the public, or you’re a witness waiting to give your evidence – you can just quietly leave the room. You may have various reasons for coming and going during the hearing, and there’s no obligation to stay put once you’re there.

But if you are in the middle of giving your evidence, or you are representing one of the parties, the hearing can’t go on without you. That doesn’t mean you have to be heroic: just ask for a break. For some reason, the standard way of saying this in the employment tribunal is to ask for a ‘comfort break.’ It is a common enough request and one that is pretty much bound to be granted: there’s no need to feel anxious or embarrassed about it.

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