Video or audio evidence

Occasionally one party or the other wants to play CCTV footage or audio recordings to the tribunal. I have two suggestions on this:

1. Don’t

Or don’t if you can help it, anyway. If you have a recording of a conversation, it will normally be more convenient for the tribunal if you can agree a transcript of any relevant parts with the other side. If the recording is clear, the other side will probably agree with you who said what, and confine themselves to arguing about what it meant or whether it mattered. If the recording is unclear, the tribunal is likely to be bored and irritated if they’re made to listen to it, and it won’t help. Similarly with CCTV or video footage: if possible, just agree with the other side what it shows so that you can tell the tribunal without making them watch it.

1. If you do, make it as painless as possible

If you can’t get the other side to agree a transcript or a description of the material and you think it is important that the tribunal sees or hears it, there are various things you can do to minimise the inconvenience:

  • Keep your extracts to the minimum – don’t ask the tribunal to watch or listen to any more material than you need to make your point.
  • Use the right equipment. If you want to show video footage, don’t expect the tribunal members to huddle round a laptop: you will need to get hold of a large screen or a projector. If you want them to listen to audio material, make sure you are able to amplify it sufficiently for everyone in the room to be able to hear it.
  • Don’t expect the tribunal to provide the necessary equipment – they won’t.
  • Make arrangements in advance. Phone the clerk to let them know what equipment you’re bringing, and ask if you can get into the hearing room early to set it up and make sure it all works.
  • Practise beforehand. Make sure you are familiar with the equipment (including setting it up and plugging the wires into the right sockets), and know how to find the extracts you need with minimum delay and fuss.
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