IOM Law Society holds employment tribunal training workshop

Article Posted: 29th May 2013

The complexities of the employment tribunal process were explored by Deemster Sharon Roberts in a training workshop organised by the Isle of Man Law Society.

Against the background of challenging economic times and a rise in employment dispute cases the society was grateful to Deemster Roberts for sharing her extensive knowledge of tribunal hearing procedures with more than 40 members of the Manx Bar, including trainees.

Attendees heard how employment tribunals were very different from court hearings. Deemster Roberts stressed that employment law was complicated and multi-faceted and that, in respect of claimants seeking a conciliated settlement, it was very much ‘personality-centred’ with money never being the sole consideration. ‘Hurt, anger and grievance’ were all common factors, she said.

Fairness to all was key, explained Deemster Roberts, urging advocates to prepare well in advance and identify conflicts early. Advocates should also recognise it was likely that some parties would be reluctant to engage in the tribunal process.

With legal aid not available for proceedings before an employment tribunal significant numbers of claimants were unrepresented. Deemster Roberts cautioned: ‘You will often get surprises when evidence from unrepresented parties is being heard, so you need to be flexible and mentally agile.

‘I pay tribute to the advocates who have appeared in the tribunal in respect of their patience and understanding towards unrepresented participants. Long may this continue,’ she added.

It was important advocates possessed an extensive knowledge of employment law, from pensions to perks, commission to contracts, but most of all, said Deemster Roberts, they must always ‘expect the unexpected.’