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What to do when tribunal judge falls asleep…


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Employment Appeal Tribunal decision not unsurprsingly allows appeal against ET -

Very unfortunately, on two occasions on day one of the hearing, the Employment Judge fell asleep.  In all the circumstances, a fair-minded informed observer would conclude that there was a real possibility that the fairness of the hearing was affected.  The appeal therefore succeeded on this ground alone.

Evidence from one of the barristers at the ET hearing says -

I raised my voice and banged my cup on the table a few times in order to command Employment Judge Stewart’s attention.  I then stated “Sir”  on a few occasions,  at which point Judge Stewart visibly regained consciousness and composure.

While the judge’s statement includes -

I do not recall being asleep during the afternoon of 27 March 2018 ... However, I was – and remain – very conscious that the absence of such a memory does nothing to rebut the allegation.

Elliot Kent
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I did rather like the Judge’s somewhat agnostic response to the allegation that he fell asleep at the hearing…

Mike Hughes
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Senior welfare rights officer - Salford City Council Welfare Rights Service

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I recall a social security decision where the medical professional fell asleep but it was not held to be a breach of natural justice. Can anyone dig that one out?

I’m also pleased to see that good old banging is still the way forward. I once had a medical professional fall asleep in a hearing and decided that the best way forward was to kick the table. Medical professional awoke the first time and clearly didn’t know what had happened so nodded off again. The second time, to the horror of the judge, I went for what turned out to be a thunderous kick of the table; knocked the jug of water over and watched as said medical professional fell off his chair.

Je ne regrette rien 😊

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Mental health & welfare rights service - Wolverhampton City Council

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Mike Hughes - 11 June 2019 09:43 AM

I recall a social security decision where the medical professional fell asleep but it was not held to be a breach of natural justice.

I can’t remember the reference but I’m pretty sure I knew who the doctor was. It was a shame really as he disappeared but was one of the good guys.

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Welfare rights team - Stockport Advice

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A welcome reminder to representatives to stay awake, as well.