Avoid telling the tribunal what they ‘must’ do

This is just a bit of useful psychology. We all tend to bridle slightly when told that we have no choice. So saying to the tribunal:

  • You must postpone this hearing.
  • You have no choice, but to order these documents be disclosed
  • It is impossible not to make a finding of unfair dismissal

is likely to put their back up to no good purpose. Human nature means that their first thought may well be “Oh I can’t, can’t I?”

Feeling the strain

Some litigants and lawyers act and write as if they’re just a little over caffeinated.

When they object to something they do so ‘firmly’ or ‘vigorously’. When they make submissions they do so ‘passionately’ or ‘strenuously’. They have made ‘heroic’ or ‘valiant’ efforts to comply with the tribunal’s orders.

A little calm goes a long way and is normally more convincing.


Often, in written submission or oral advocacy, you will need to quote from another text. It might be a document from the bundle or from a piece of case-law.

Most documents will be far too long to quote in full. You should trim them to what is relevant and useful. After all, the full document or case will also be available to the tribunal.

What you must not do, however, is selectively quote to give a misleading impression.